I need to tell you this, peradventure you may learn something from the pathway I had to go through lately. Let me elucidate (and I will try to be brief).
I never had problems with identity growing up. Even when I was in college and friends would mention it, it was never an issue with me. I knew I was a student who studied hard and received good grades, and I knew I was going to be a chemical engineer and work to become successful in my chosen field. A decade after my graduation and four employments later, I put up my own company, built our own office building with applications laboratory and stock rooms, and managed my staff well. I loved my work. It was in line with my profession. I felt so fulfilled with my career that I used to say, “It’s what defines me. I have arrived. So, this is what it means to ‘live your dreams’.” I believed I was having a most enviable job.
Until God stripped me off of all that, including my health and strength. Then I had to strain to find my own place under the sun. (Additional readings for those who have not read my whole testimony: Found in Him; A Time of Anonymity).
Before you begin to think or ask if until now I haven’t found my true identity, I had written about that a few times and I know that I am a child of God, a daughter of the King of kings, who has received amazing grace. But that is not what I’m trying to discuss now.
It is this:
After almost a decade of being unwell and retired from work, and after continuing to dream of being used by God, I still find myself just looking at others while they live their dreams. I would like to make it clear: this is not about envy or jealousy, comparison or competition, or even complaint. By God’s grace, I’ve worked these all out. It is about not having my own specialization. It is about not really finding my own place in the Body of Christ.
I see and read about successful bloggers, authors, speakers, teachers. I follow (together with their droves of blog followers) some to their mission trips as they minister to the poor and the unreached. They write about them. I see successful songwriters and worship leaders leading worship with the multitude as they go from one country to another.
I see people, Christians, who have certainly found their specialization, embrace their calling and are fabulously successful in them. What made my heart heavy was my reaction that I also want to be successful just.like.them. Initially, I would react in my mind like this, “Oh, I also would like to be traveling to minister to the poor and the unsaved. I’m going to plan for that project.” Then, I catch myself and rebuke me, “Stop wanting to live others’ lives!” And although I knew that reprimand to be true, it didn’t lift up the sadness. (Due to my health condition, I’m still unable to travel).
It all climaxed one late Saturday night. When with a heavy heart, I began to sing praises in my private worship time. At first, I sang, feeling sorry for myself. Tears trickled down, then I felt the Holy Spirit descend. As I sang, He came and shed light to my darkened mind. The Lord spoke in my heart and I cried copious tears.
It is okay not to be known.
It is okay to be anonymous.
He alone is exalted and worthy of all honor and fame.
What He did for me was enough. It is enough.
In-between sobs, with arms raised high, I spoke to the Lord of my overflowing gratitude.
Unless the Spirit of the Lord descends and sheds light to our confused minds and brings us wisdom, the mind is not renewed by our mere convincing and coaxing.
I think about the Hebrew servant who waited on Naaman’s wife. There was no mention of her name. She was anonymous. But when it was time for her to be used by the Lord, she spoke of her faith and was instrumental in leading Naaman to the healing of his leprosy (see 2 Kings 5).
Identity should never be a Christian’s problem for he or she is Christ’s own. When we speak of our faith, whether to a multitude of followers or to a lone person who cares to listen, we are identifying ourselves to be members of the Body of Christ. It’s good to specialize on this.
Linked to A Holy Experience, Better Mom Mondays, Domestically Divine, Raising Homemakers, Brag on God Friday, Encourage My Heart, Spiritual Sundays, State of the Heart, Teach Me Tuesday, Teaching What is Good, Titus 2sdays, Women in the Word Wednesday, Women Living Well