Today, my friends, you are in for a treat. I'm thrilled to introduce you to my lovely Aussie friend, Bec Isaacson. She is a phenomenal communicator, a faithful follower of Jesus, and a beautiful human being. She is a writer and blogger, and you can read more of her words over at her blog on the adventures she and her husband share. Her reflections for us on the contradictions we all carry within us are powerful, and I hope you'll find encouragement in her words.
I’m an introvert who loves public speaking.
I’m an Australian, married to an Alaskan.
I’m a pastor’s wife, who doesn’t like brunch.
To put it lightly, my life is full of vivid contradictions. I’m complicated, as my husband would say.
So much so that one time in High School I quite literally failed a personality test. Our guidance counselor took me through this complicated process that was supposed to project my best and recommended future jobs and career choices, and mine? It came back inconclusive.
I’ve done the Strength Finders twice (as I originally lost the first set of findings, side note: I’m also super clumsy and forgetful) and my ‘top 5’ to each set of results was very different. I also sit squarely and deeply within two very different numbers on the enneagram (within a 1w9 and a 5w4 for those who care). All that to say, I have too often been – at the ripe age of 26 – in the middle of an identity crisis.
I seem to have stumped the personality, strength and weakness tests of the world with my buffet personality. I wish I could use this to think of myself as a mysterious, chameleon protagonist, writing the song to my own life story, marching and dancing to my vagabond beat, but I don’t, to be honest. I have instead too often dwelled in the mires of confusion and sadness. WHO AM I? And God, why did you make me this way.
Being full of the contradictions that it is, my life and personhood would remain an overwhelming question mark if it weren’t for one thing. One person, really: Jesus.
People say that He is the answer to every question and I’m heralding that as absolutely true when it comes our identity.
As helpful and as eye opening as personality tests and self -analysis can be, they don’t answer one fundamental question for me. What is my purpose?
Because like a mosaic, or a stained glass window, our identities can be crafted of a thousand, changing, colourful, jagged-edged pieces. Nature and nurture, our family, our country and even our state (case in point being Nebraska’s Husker football fans, who are indeed a blend of their own). Childhood memories, our decade of birth, the words we have received and believed to be true, the government regimes we live under and the theological truths that have roots within our being. They all, and many other pieces, contribute to this thing we call ourselves. Who we are, what we project, and the way we view the world.
Some of these shards are helpful. I have shining pieces of ‘academic success,’ ‘intrepid adventurer’ and ‘good-at-organizing-things’ within my puzzling picture. Others are unhelpful at best, but present nonetheless, as I have ‘too shy,’ ‘self-critical’ and ‘easily angered’ taking up space within me also.
Too often we as people have a tendency to take these little threads, these thoughts, these realities, and we weave them into the clothes we wear and never wash. Like toddlers in princess and super-hero costumes we sit in these mosaic identities and present them to the world as who we are.
I’m convinced, if we let Him, He takes these little pieces, one by one and walks us through a process.
He takes my ‘academic success’ and hands me ‘my love for you is unconditional.’
He takes my ‘too shy’ and weaves ‘I knit you together inside your mothers womb.’
And truth is, if we walk with Him long enough and allow those constant conversations, we will look down at some point and see the clothes in which we have always belonged: our identity in Christ. Clothes that were paid for at a price, and that we look our very best in.
These “clothes” my friends are SECURE, and that’s the word of the evening.
Unlike my apparently unidentifiable tossed-too-and-fro-by-the-waves-of-the-moment personality, my identity in Christ in SECURE as a foundation set on stone, and it is eternally unchanging, even when I am.
I am still very much Rebecca Ann Isaacson. The ocean-loving Australian living in land-locked Nebraska. The pastor’s wife who has social anxiety about greeting strangers on a Sunday. The woman who doesn’t really love to talk about her feelings. The human being that doesn’t really like cake. I am all of these things, and a hundred thousand more, but most importantly, I am HIS.
I don’t need to impress, serve or imitate anybody else, and that is FREEDOM.
It’s okay to be me because I’m His, and I want that tattooed as a mantra of my heart. Or to answer that fundamental question, I am who I am for “I Am.”
I trust Jesus, because He is right, and He says I am His child. I am chosen and appointed to bear fruit for Him. I am accepted, and have been redeemed. His Spirit dwells within me. And on and on it goes, little threads of our identity that weave an eternal tapestry, a magic carpet of sorts that takes us higher and further than we ever deemed imaginable.
I know I’m mixing metaphors, but our identity in Christ is kind of like that: a soup of profound and incredible things. My contradictory life may be a magic carpet, a beautiful garment, a mosaic, and a stained glass window, but He is the light that shines through and illuminates me, defining what each of those thousand, changing, colourful, jagged-edged pieces mean. He gives me truth. He gives me purpose.
One last thought.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to convince myself of things. Have you ever thought about how weird that is? I have to convince myself. There is a war within us, all the time. So many things even within ourselves fighting for our truth, and our attention.
My brother once shared this story with me. I’m going to butcher the poetics of it, but this is the gist: on her deathbed, a dying Grandmother tells her granddaughter the secret of life. That there are two wolves at war within every person, one, which is good, and the other, which is evil. Frightened, the little girls asks, “but Grandmother, which wolf wins?” and the Grandmother replies, “whichever one you feed.”
The story is plain, but the premise is simple: what we feed, wins. We have a choice what we live out of. Let’s be people who feed ourselves the truth.
Jesus is the King and Creator of all things. He knows best. He is right and trustworthy. His Spirit dwells within me. He is working in me. I have everything I need to be me.
I'm so thankful Bec chose to share so openly with us today, giving us a window into her personal journey with identity. If you'd like to take a similar journey, exploring who you are and feeding yourself truth, as Bec challenged us to do, please sign up for my mailing list! After you open your welcome email and click to confirm, you'll receive my ebook, "CHILD OF GOD: A Seven Day Exploration of Who You Really Are." I hope you all remember today how abundantly you are loved!