How I Simplified My Life by Being Really Complicated

A Situation In Which not having an answer can set you free

Have you ever had an identity crisis? If so, when? Where? {Share in the comments below.}

For me, it happened this week with a quick glance at my inbox on the way out the door one morning. I imagine, having no practical experience myself, it was like being shot. Fast and piercing.

Who are you? Bam!

IMG_7085

This is my son, who at one point, I could have identified as being mischievous. {Still a little bit of a brownie spirit in there somewhere. Do you see it, too? Maybe you have a brownie of your own…}

There it was, in micro-type staring back at me from the tiny, angry glare of my iPhone – the answer to all my life’s efforts and striving – my identity revealed in a single response. If only I could answer the question!

Who.

Are.

You.

There was a brief moment of panic. The idea of answering that question – much less opening that email, which turned out not to be about anyone’s identity at all – was overwhelming. But it was also all I could think about dropping off the kids, on the drive to the office, making my way through the litany of weekday to-dos.

Who am I? I am…

Pow! Agony. The self-inflicted pressure to answer the question, to come up with a neat little word that defined my personhood was relentless. And yet, I wanted to answer it. I really did.

My identity List

Joyful
Wife
Hardworking
Mom
Loving
Daughter
Thoughtful
Friend
Encouraging
Cheerleader
Hopeful
Sometime-survivor
Faithful
Mourner
Creative
Muse
Grateful
Rejoicer
Dillegent
Employee
Dedicated
Writer
Inspired
Dancer
Bunny-owner…

{And quite a few less pleasant things, I’m sure, but we are being upbeat here.}

{What’s on your list? Share below!}

My complicated Self Simplified

Nearly the whole day passed and then in a moment, at a stoplight with the sun streaming down, the answer came – or the lack of an answer came. It was like a little death followed by a brilliant resurrection.

I am.

I am my list of things and probably even more things I haven’t even thought of or even aware of yet. And someday, I might stop being some things on my list and start being other things – like a grandmother. Wow!

In that moment I stopped trying to be one thing, and allowed myself to start being everything – everything that I am. And that is something too complicated to explain. {Tweet}

Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” And God? He says, “I am who I am,” in Exodus 3:14.

I am. That’s the best answer I’ve got, and if it’s good enough for God…well? It buzzed around me like a bright shock – energizing, exciting, even self-revolutionizing. Simple.

And I was free – free from the question, free from defining and redefining myself, free from striving. I hope it lasts!

Identity & families

Identifying who we are as a family is no different. Families are blissfully but more often ruthlessly complicated. Can you identify your family in a word? I can’t.

More on this soon!

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