Some recent decisions that I have had to make have caused me to think about identity and where we find it. Living in an American culture, we tend to find our identity in “what we do”, as in what we do in the workforce. I have had to face this concept in an area of my life.
Last year, I was teaching in a Special Education classroom. I taught 5 beautiful children that I absolutely adored. This year, I am teaching in my home, my one and only son who I adore even more. When I left my classroom last year, I took a year’s leave of absence from my position and the time is coming, very soon, to make a choice whether to go back to that position or to stay at home.
This has surprisingly been a roller coaster ride for me. I love teaching my son at home, but something has been tugging at me to return to my position in the school system. I have been rather perplexed with the whole situation until I started asking myself, “what am I to gain from returning to teaching in a classroom?”. The answer to this question was not about financial security, or benefits…no, the answer seemed to be that teaching in this particular school system was a source of identity for me.
My family has quite a history in this school system. My mother has taught for almost 40 years. I have two aunts that taught in the classroom and went on to become administrators in their respective systems. My grandparents were key players in the creation of a center for exceptional children in our community. The list continues… All that to say, I took a lot of pride in being a teacher because it connected me to my family and thus created an identity for me. This all started to be exposed when out of necessity, we began to homeschool our son this year. I have begun to rethink many things about American education and have many questions, but still the pull is there to return.
Now, I have not made a formal decision one way or the other in this situation, but it certainly has produced some thinking on my part about identity and where we should find it. As a Christian, we are taught that our identity should be in Christ, but what does that mean?
This scripture comes to mind:
“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’”
I Cor. 1:30 NIV
Could it be that we can simply trust our relationship with Jesus and in Jesus to provide the wisdom we need in situations such as the one I am facing? And could it be that keeping that focus at all times, without allowing the pressures that surround us to receive affirmation for our talents and skills, on the one who provides us with those talents and skills?
I’ll be the first one to say that receiving affirmations according to the talents that you have, is very rewarding. It gives us a sense of accomplishment that honestly feels very good. But is it really worth “feeling good” if it is only for self satisfaction and apart from God’s will? That is not a place I want to be –apart from Him.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lived in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NIV
Seeking His wisdom each moment,