When Every Last Thing Gets Tossed About | Lessons Learned About Identity

Identity Crisis.

Those two words began my journal entry.

In the words that followed, I poured out my heart onto that blank screen because sometimes you just have to get it all out.

The definitions came in…

…a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.

…a feeling of unhappiness and confusion caused by not being sure about what type of person you really are or what the true purpose of your life is

Identity crisis. Not sure of who you really are…without a doubt. It was absolutely everything I was feeling.

Roles in my life had not just shifted, they were gone.

A job lay-off.

Then an abruptly blocked path.

Followed by a searing rejection.

Positions I had loved, dreams I had dreamt, paths that I thought I was to take… all of it, vaporized. And the heavens were silent about it.

Had I done something wrong? Had I taken the wrong turn? Did I make the wrong choice? Why wasn’t I good enough? Who was I if I didn’t have a role or a place to do all these things I thought I was suppose to do? What had gone so terribly wrong?

Confusion. Panic. Fear. Heartbreak. Grief. All of it washing over me, and leaving me to question everything. Every last thing. From my calling, to my worth, to my faith.

Why was this so painful and why was this silence so deafening?

Because when we don’t know who we are on the inside, reality becomes impossible to navigate.

When we are confused about who we actually are, the foundation of our life becomes like a moving ocean, tossing everything that was once so firmly anchored.

All of it, causing us to lose sight. And eventually, causing us to lose our very selves.

We lose ourselves when life doesn’t go as planned. When that job doesn’t come through. When the most obvious path becomes covered with confusion and darkness. When the relationship you thought you could count on goes sideways. When you are begging for answers and they just won’t come.

We lose ourselves in the false narrative of social media. We see and absorb how the world is living, how our friends are celebrating, how we should be moving, and we create this alternative reality. We compare, we envy, we see someone who is obviously doing it better and our hearts long. We position ourselves, we seek opportunities and people out of false motives, because something is sitting sideways in us. We strive because we are lacking.

We lose ourselves in our children. They take so much energy and time that they become our world, for all the right reasons. But time begins to thin the line between who we are/who they are, and we start to believe that when they succeed, I am then successful. When they fail, then I am a failure. Their good choices equal great parenting, and bad choices equal my lack and I take on blame and shame in ways that were never meant for my shoulders.

We look for our circumstances to be our validation.

We look at others to be our fulfillment.

We look to our children to be our contentment.

We have a hole in our heart that is deep and wide and proves insatiable because our human hearts crave. They crave love. They crave acceptance. They crave validation and for someone to ultimately tell us that we are seen…and known…and that we are indeed…enough.

Because it is maybe the biggest lie we believe, that we aren’t enough. That we will never be enough, and we are probably the only one on this whole spinning planet who cannot figure this whole thing out.

What happens to a life that begins to question its very identity? Where does it start to unravel…how does it even happen?

How could I be having an identity crisis when I had walked with my Father for so many years? How could I be found questioning so much at this point in my life?

It happened, because when my life, and my roles, and all that I’d been clinging onto so desperately had been completely blown up, my anchor got unhinged, and I began to stray.

I began to believe a narrative about my life, my circumstances, and about my God that was in the simplest of ways…wrong.

As I untethered and lost focus from what I had known in the past about who I was, who my God always has been, I began to turn my face towards the lies…and began to believe them. 

  • I am not enough
  • God would help me if I mattered
  • I must have really messed up
  • I am such a failure
  • God is holding out on me
  • God cannot be trusted

The lies were loud and presented as absolute truth, shutting down my heart to see or hear anything real.

Yet, there in the distance there was this still small voice, beckoning me to come home, to come back to all that my heart had forever known. To re-read the Truth that had the ability to cut through the mess of the lies, to re-establish my confused and broken heart.

…Call unto me and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.

…You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart, I will be found by you.

…I am the way, the truth and the life.

All of it, calling me back home.

Maybe this is for you today…a space to re-hear some truth about who you are…about whose you are.

Maybe you’ve lost some identity in recent days, through whatever myriad of circumstances you find yourself in.

Maybe today, some space here…

Space to ask the questions…

  • What are the messages I’m telling myself? 
  • Where has my life been tossed?
  • Am I equating my success and failure to my children’s performance?
  • What has risen up to take over as god in my life? a relationship? a decision?
  • Who am I?

What if instead of the onslaught of lies we keep believing…the messages we keep listening to, maybe today some truth.

As we close out today, maybe spend some time here, re-reading some fresh words over your soul, speaking it, believing it, grabbing onto this, instead of that.

  • I am a child of God (John 1:12)
  • I have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)
  • I am completely forgiven (Col. 1:14)
  • I am reconciled to God (Rom. 5:11)
  • I am tenderly loved by God (Jer. 31:3)
  • I am a temple in which God dwells (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • I am the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13)
  • I am the light of the world (Matt. 5:14)
  • I am a branch on Christ’s vine (John 15:1,5)
  • I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit (John 15:6)
  • I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
  • I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession and created to sing his praises (1 Pet. 2:9-10)
  • I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13)
  • I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7)
  • I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:6)
  • I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
  • I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need (Phil. 4:13)
  • I am assured that all things are working together for good (Rom. 8:28)
  • I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Rom. 8:35)

Take time today, to remind yourself of the Truth of your identity.


For the next four weeks, we are taking some time out for the mamas.
The Madness of Motherhood Series will provide key truths and big encouragements for your mother’s heart.
If you know a mom who would be encouraged by this series,
invite them to join us here.

1 Comment

  1. Beth Tuthill on May 1, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Wow oh wow! THANKyou for articulating these truths, Julie; especially THE truth! I am saving this one to re-read again and again.

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