On Losing My Labels and Finding My Identity in Christ

I like personality profiles. I’m an INTJ, enneagram 1, C (on the DISC scale), and a beaver, so that shouldn’t surprise anyone. I like labels and boxes and people who have labels and fit into boxes.

I’ve lost some of my labels lately, parts of my identity. I was an adoptive mom, then I wasn’t. I was a pastor’s wife, then I wasn’t. And now I’m changing yet another label—homeschool mom.

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None of these changes have been easy, but this one stings because it’s so recent. Being a homeschool mom is something I’m proud of. I’ve even told Lee I would change anything in my schedule I needed to change to keep doing it. Because James requires so much of my attention when he’s home, I feel like homeschooling David gives us the time I need to focus on just him.

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But on a road trip early this month, we got to talking (our best talks often come in the car). David said he’s lonely. I get that. We moved from PA to TX a year ago and left lots of good friends behind. The church we attend doesn’t have Sunday school or Awana like our church in PA did, so he sees his friends before church and after, but that’s really it. And as we transition away from there to focus on Journey, he’ll see them even less. He has theatre friends but only when they are doing plays together. We don’t know any kids in the neighborhood. And he is the best big brother I know, but his relationship with James isn’t a true friendship.

So off to school he will go in the fall. At least for one grading period. We’ll see how it goes and make future plans from there.

I’m excited for him, truly. But I’m sad for me. We’ve homeschooled through major difficult life events and it’s the anchor I rely on each day at 1:00, when David and I meet to start off our time by both reading.

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When my emotions get big, I try to figure out why. What is making me saddest about this? I think it’s because I’m losing part of my identity. Because I’m stepping out of a box I stepped into seven years ago when we were learning B is for boy, ball, and button. Stepping out feels like I’m quitting. It feels like I failed. Again. It feels like yet another u turn in the plan I had for our family. If I’m not a homeschooling pastor’s wife, who am I? 

Paul may have been like me. (I’m 95% sure he was an INTJ at least.) He lists some of his labels in Philippians 3:4-6

If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

But as we know, those were actually Saul’s labels; the labels Saul was known for before he met Christ and became Paul.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (vv 7-11)

We don’t know Paul as a Pharisee or a Benjamite. We know him as a Christ-follower. That was the most important way he identified himself. After gaining Christ, nothing else mattered. None of the labels or accomplishments. He only lived to please God and be worthy of his calling.

That’s my goal through this too—to focus on Christ and how He calls me to rest in Him. To remember when everything around me feels like it’s changing, He is my anchor.

I may be losing a label, but my identity in Him will never change.

3 thoughts on “On Losing My Labels and Finding My Identity in Christ

  1. Praying for you all during this transition!!! I’m excited for David and will be praying for him.

  2. ((HUGS)) Sandra. I remember the scary step from homeschool to public school. There have many days where I have questioned God, “Did you REALLY want me to do this?” Even so, years later, the Lord has fit each of my kids just perfectly for what He has in mind. And He has affirmed my value in Him. Good thing He goes before us on these things!

  3. Sandra, I lose the homeschool mom label this year, too. It is hard for me, too. We truly count the cost and realize deeply within what it is we are giving up, yet what we hope the payoff will be. Prayers for you and David both! I am proud of you for hearing his heart and for being willing to feel loss for his sake.

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