Who Am I?

I am at an interesting place in life right now. My husband and I have worked with teenagers for the past ten years but that's all changing for us. God is moving us into a different season. We are not going anywhere, but our role is changing in the church. I am looking forward with mixed emotions. I am excited because God is doing something new..but it scares me a little...actually a lot. For ten years I have had a clear job description. Truthfully, I've probably allowed that to define who I am. Instead of just being Shannon, I've been wife, mom and youth pastor's wife. I think I've probably hidden behind "titles". Do you ever do that? This is just one more layer of dead skin (pardon the visual) that God is pulling off of my life. I know what He is up to! He wants my identity to be "Shannon, follower of Jesus" and he is working me more and more into that place.

It's scary though because I'm really good at doing, but not so good at just being.

This makes me think about Jesus. One question that you will see a lot coming up in his ministry is "Who is this man?" Folks were constantly trying to figure out who he was. He didn't come into his ministry with any kind of title. He was just a man, from a village, with a carpenter for a dad. Then, he starts doing miracles and preaching and folks naturally want to know where he came from, who his family is, and what his credentials are. That's because we humans like to tag each other with "descriptions" and "titles".

God could care less about that stuff.

I know this in my heart but once again, my mind doubts and yells and screams. I keep thinking up "new jobs" for myself in moments when I forget that I need to just be. "I could do that." or "Maybe I need to go there." Thankfully, I'm getting better at recognizing that gentle whisper. Every time I start trying to find myself something to do I hear that whisper that says "Just be, Shannon. Just wait, Shannon. Just rest, Shannon." As you all know, I constantly battle with trying to work for grace. This is probably the hardest test of that I've ever faced. God is gently peeling that dead layer of skin off of me called "titles". I feel a little exposed without it. Actually I feel a lot exposed. Exposure is good though. Having nothing to hide behind is freeing. Even the title wife or mom can't define who I am. Those are things I am called to do. Never though, should they define me. Truthfully, even those callings could disappear in an instant. If I was defined by them, then what would I do in those moments?

Jesus is showing me that it's actually much safer to just be defined as his follower. It's safer because it is consistent. He never changes and he never leaves me. He is forever while the titles of this life are temporary. I do believe in my heart that God is preparing something for me. I know He has plans for my good and so I am holding on to that. I suspect, though, that His goal is to get me to a place where none of that really matters to me. He is guiding me to a place that all I will care about is fellowship with Him. When he does drop something new in my lap, all I will care about is whether or not it brings me closer to him.

I can learn a lot from my kids about this. My little girls don't care about what we do or where we go. All they care about is that mommy and daddy are with them. All they care about is having a family date somewhere and playing on the trampoline together and doing puzzles together. All they care about is being together. Really, all God wants is for Him and I to be together. He is content just being with me...and he wants me to feel that way too.

So, who am I? Well, I'm Shannon, a follower of Jesus. I don't always get things right, but I love Jesus with all that is in me. I struggle with fear, temptation and all the other chains of this world but I don't struggle alone. Jesus holds my hand every moment of every day and if I try to let go, he holds tighter. I am living this life so I can go to the next. I don't really know what tomorrow holds, but I trust that Jesus can see ahead and so I will just watch him and do what he does, go where he goes and say what he wants me to say.

I am a wife because Jesus called me to be one. I am a mom because in his goodness, he blessed me with children. I write because I love him fiercely and I can't help but share this passion with others. Those are all just ways I worship him though. They are not who I am. They do not define me. I am and always will be defined by one thing.

I am Shannon, a follower of Jesus.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10

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