Where does my identity come from?
The other day I was driving home by myself. I had taken a little time, like I do every Wednesday evening, to get away from my responsibilities as a stay-at-home mom and go to a cafe by myself to write. My car automatically connected my phone to the speaker and started playing a song I hadn’t listened to in years: “Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson.
I remember downloading this song when I was 16. At the time, it really “spoke to my soul.” I didn’t really know who I was, much less who I wanted to be. I didn’t understand what my identity was truly rooted in. When asked, I used to tell people I was Catholic, homeschooled, played soccer, and had eight siblings. That was Michelle. That was who I was.
I knew I wanted to go to college, get married, be a writer, and stay at home with my children. But these are traits that make up our lives. They are goals, but not our identity.
I am not who I used to be.
Hearing this song, as I drove home through a city I had moved to away from my family, headed back to my husband and baby boy, I remembered who I used to be. A scared, confused girl who was desperate for love, and afraid to show anyone my weaknesses or my strengths. When I downloaded this song, I was a teenager trying to figure out how to have friends, how to be loved, how to present myself, and how to have desires for my life.
I am not that person anymore. And that is such a good thing.
I’m not afraid of the world or of life anymore. I am still Catholic, still grew up homeschooled, still used to play soccer, and I still have eight siblings. Now I have graduated college, gotten married, had a beautiful little baby, and am a paid writer. But none of this is who I am.
I am who I always was, and always will be, a daughter of God and a woman striving for virtue. It didn’t take me 23 years to become this person. Instead, it took me years to figure out I was already this person.
We are made in the image and likeness of God. Who we are—heirs of Heaven and stewards of God’s grace—was always inscribed into our identity and perfected by baptism. We are not our careers, our relationship status, our family tree, our sexual identity, our race, or anything else that is determined by the world around us.
We are God’s greatest creation and should remember that. This is God’s identity for us.