What... or Who? by Mandy Baker Johnson
I was struck by the changes I saw in myself. It was my third weekend at Scargill and this one was definitely different.
The first couple of times, I determinedly told myself: 'I'm a writer, I'm a writer.' Writing magazines and blogs urge writers and budding writers to proudly proclaim what they are.
But for me, it meant sitting in the sessions weighing up my fellow writers. If they were already published, they were out of my league. If not yet published, were they as good as me? Were they better? When individuals stood to read their piece, my spirits plummeted if it was brilliant. If it, shall we say needed a little polishing, I judged it accordingly and sat smugly in my place knowing I could do so much better. Yet I never had the courage to share what I'd written. Because what if it wasn't as amazing as I thought it was? I was a writer after all.
It all added up to being a stressful weekend that caused me to come away feeling insecure about myself and my abilities and wondering what the heck I thought I was doing trying to write in the first place. (Thankfully, this time was different and I enjoyed chatting with people and hearing their work without feeling threatened or jealous.)
The problem with tying what you do to who you are is that things get skewed. I do write but it's not solely who I am. I'm also a medical secretary, but that still doesn't give the full picture of me.
If what I do equals who I am, I'm screwed when I can't do any more. A few years ago, I fell ill. I lost my job and my ministry. Memories disappeared and some days I was too weak to hold a pen, never mind write. Because my identity had always come out of what I did and I could no longer do, I had no idea who I was. It was a scary time.
Thankfully God healed me and restored everything I had lost through that time. He also showed me that what I do doesn't equal who I am. Who I am is that I am His child. That had never seemed important before, but the more I've pondered this truth the more I value it. I am a child of God and everything else comes out of that. This is who I really am and it'll never stop being true.
One morning this summer at sunrise, the Holy Spirit gave me the briefest glimpse of who I am and will be. One day, I'm going to shine like the sun in my Daddy's Kingdom. This is who He has made me to be! WOOOO HOOOO!!!
When I get to heaven, I doubt I'll be swanning around saying to the saints and angels: 'I'm a writer,' or 'I'm a church planter'. That's what I did. What I will glory in is that I'm a child of the Most High God, that the Creator of the universe is friends with me, and that the cosmic Christ died to bring me into His family.
Mandy Baker Johnson is a self-employed medical secretary who enjoys blogging and is working on an autobiographical book about deliverance from darkness and being healed from cerebellar ataxia and ME/chronic fatigue. She is developing a heart for the poor and enjoys volunteering with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry.