Growing up, I did not have to think too hard about what my identity was. It was always a given. I was the pastor’s kid or PK, as it is affectionately known within Adventist circles. I went through life on a bit of a pedestal mostly of my own making but also encouraged by certain members of the church. I created an image of God and His character that was not true and was not one of love, but of consequential obedience. The God I used to know would only love me and look after me if I were perfect, if I played the part: the perfect minister’s daughter role. This charade all came crashing down when I moved away to college in Australia from New Zealand or Across the Ditch, as we like to call it. Suddenly, no one knew who I was, who my father was, what my role had been. Suddenly, I had a miscued identity.
This continued for the next couple of years through nursing school, this endless search for identity. I attempted to find it in the strobe lights of the city, in the achievement of high grades, and being the best student on clinical placement. The perfectionist role continued through the time like a thread with the need to be liked and be seen as the best becoming of my identity.
One day the struggle with my identity could no longer be ignored. I was in my first year out of nursing school and on an afternoon shift on a surgical ward. It had been a busy shift, and I had finally arrived at the quiet time where I could sit and write documentations. As I sat at the computer, I had this overwhelming feeling of emptiness. What was I here for? What was the point? Was it for the money? For the accolade? For my managers and patient’s appreciation? Deep within me I knew that was never going to be enough, that the identity of the perfect young lady and nurse was never going to fulfill me. As I sat there with this emptiness, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me, and as the patient calls, bells and infusion pumps dinged around me, I heard the voice of God whisper in my ear: “I am here, you are Mine.” From that day on, my identity became the daughter of the King, not the perfect daughter of a minister, but the child of the Most High God. I learned of a God Who loved me, even when I was not perfect, and for Whom I did not ever have to play a role. My identity was allowing Him to express His identity through me. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” (1 John 3:1).
Challenge: Where does your identity come from? The best life is when your identity comes from Christ, not your job, your partner, amount of money, or where you live. Sit down today and think about what makes up your identity and if you are fulfilled in that.