Tomorrow will mark four weeks since my last day of work on active duty. In some senses it seems like it was just yesterday, and yet in many ways it seems as though it was a lifetime ago and a world away. My uniform has since been packed away with the exception of a few ribbons and such that I’m saving for a shadow box. Besides visiting my hubby at work for lunch a few times a week, I’ve hardly ventured up to the base at all lately, keeping myself busy at home or with friends. It’s crazy to think that I spent just shy of 8 of the last years of my life in the military, between the 4 years at the Academy and the just under 4 years on active duty. And just like that, it’s already over. For someone in their mid-20s, 8 years is a very significant chunk of my life. And over the last 8 years, being in the military became my identity really.
You know when you first meet someone that at some point, if they’re truly attempting to get to know you, they’ll say “So, tell me about you.” My automatic response for the last 4 years has always sounded something like “Well, I’m in the military and I do such and such…” Someone who’s just scratching the surface in an effort to be polite might be satisfied with that answer, but it didn’t get at the true heart of the question. “Tell me about you” implies something deeper: your identity. Identity asks who are you really, underneath it all? What are you – and your life – all about? You see, who I was got so deeply wrapped up in what I did. My job defined me, not who I am. But happens when what you do changes? If you have your identity built on something changeable, your identity will falter and fall short at each fork in the road.
I was a competitive athlete from 7th grade all the way through my junior year of college. From the time I was 12 years old I began to build my identity around running. I competed in track in the spring, cross country in the fall, and dedicated the months in between to training for the next season. All through those years, when someone asked who I was, that was my answer. “I’m a runner.” When on the first day of class in high school and even college, the students were asked to introduce themselves to class and include the dreaded “something we don’t know about you” I answered with “I’m a 400 meter runner,” or later in college “I’m an 800 meter runner.” After months of living out of a suitcase every weekend, multiple injuries, and a growing sense that competitive running just wasn’t enjoyable to me anymore, I made the very difficult choice to quit the team before the start of the cross country season my senior year of college. I about lost it. If running just felt like it was wearing my down those days, why was it such an intense struggle to let go? I remember telling a good friend – who had also recently made the choice to quit the team for similar reasons – that I felt as though I didn’t know who I was without running. Running had become who I was so much so that I wasn’t sure who the real Becca was without it.
Four years later, I’m facing many of those same feelings now. Now that I’ve moved on from my previous job, who am I if not a military woman? Who am I really? I can no longer hide behind the safe and simple answer that I’m a military girl. Yes, I’m a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter. But the great new is, there is so much more to me than that.
My true identity is in Christ.
When I’m asked “tell me about you,” there are so many more wonderful and meaningful answers than what I do. I am a Daughter of the King. I am a Child of God. Who I am is all about who He is. No matter where in life God has taken me, whether I have a job title or not, whether I am single or married, a mom or not, whether I am reserved or outgoing, a leader or a follower, I am and always will be securely and beautifully His.
God has so many things to say about who I am (and you too, if you have surrendered to Him as your savior and redeemer!) in His Word that it would take much more than one post to even scratch the surface, but here of my favorite verses about identity in Christ:
I am completely forgiven!
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
I am secure in Him!
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
I am a child of God!
You are all [daughters] of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
I am a new creation!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [s]he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I am bought with a price!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20
God is unchangeable, and Jesus Christ never fails me. When circumstances or others cause you to question who you really are, know that the final answer to your “identity crisis” lies solely in Christ!