Most nights I lay awake in bed rehearsing different conversations I had throughout the day. I worry if I said or did the right thing. I calculate and rethink what I should or could have done. I wonder why someone didn’t text back. I toss and turn making plans to fix things tomorrow.
Most mornings, my mind is running even before I open my eyes. My lists grow. I mentally rummage through the fridge trying to figure out breakfast. The kids fight. Anger comes up and at me from every direction. It’s another day managing a home filled with children and thankless tasks needing to be done. I want to pretend I don’t see my baby who is waving at me from her crib like a frantic New Yorker trying to catch a cab. I want to crawl back under the sheets and hide.
But I swoop up the baby, rush to the restroom, and wash my hands. I glance in the mirror and glance away quickly. Grumbles of disgust drift in and out of my mind. I fumble through my closet and yank anything off the hanger wishing I could get my act together and work out for once. I grab my phone, and b-line straight to the kitchen for coffee. I have to dig through dirty dishes for my favorite mug, and I am frustrated.
With the baby on my hip, hot water in motion, and other children appeased, I start scrolling. What have I missed? Who commented? What are other people doing, wearing, saying? How can I momentarily escape my reality? These quiet questions motivate me to slide my thumb up the screen in search of answers. Pretty lives and pretty feeds move like flash cards before my face, and my annoyance grows with the sound of the kettle blowing, “I’m done already!” Then I hear, “Mom, Mom, MOOOM,” like an unwelcome banging on the door interrupting my mission. I toss my phone down with a groan and lecture my kids about patience and being kind. It’s ironic; I realize that.
My heart is a tangled mess. I slowly implode on myself and explode onto them. My identity so easily goes into crisis mode. I’m in an anxious tizzy to fix and fill myself with anything that will soothe my unsettledness — accomplishments, caffeine, beauty, a fit body, and obedient children. I look to my reflection, closet, mothering skills, or social media to tell me that I’m good enough. When I can’t live up to my standards, shame taunts me, and I come undone.
My identity is relentless to get an answer to the “who am I” question. I’m desperate to be a good enough mom, faithful enough friend, spiritual enough pastor’s wife, or pretty enough woman. The list goes on. There is a deep longing to be okay, liked, and known. When my identity can’t find a resting place, I become restless. My identity can be like a ravenous beast devouring anything that mimics God. But I am never satisfied until I find my satisfaction in Christ.
Our identity will only find peace when we let Christ be what pieces us together.
What binds your heart together? What is that thing that holds your heart muscle in place? Is it being noticed by others, liked by peers, admired by coworkers? Is it your ability to cook, counsel, or create? Are you striving to be perfect? Are you consumed by pride, resentment, envy, or deceit? Is your heart only calm when you have money in your savings account, clean counters, or an organized closet? What are you dependent on for peace? What false identity have you been squeezing to death to give you life?
That thing binding your heart together will in time make it hard for you to breathe. That identity you are working relentlessly to control will in fact control you. When the ties of your heart are stitched tightly around you, release and allow Christ to be the good heart surgeon, delicately slicing and intricately stitching your heart together. He is sewing His identity onto yours. His perfection is now suctioned to you, dissolving your sin.
So receive, cling, and allow Christ to be what binds your heart together. Not beauty, marriage, motherhood, traditions, behavior, abilities, accomplishments, anger, or pride, but only Christ. His love binds your heart into perfect peace. You can rest in this hope alone — that Christ’s love is threading your heart together for His endless good. His love echoes into the deepest recesses of your soul, and all of your not-enoughs are welcome here.Leave a Comment
Beautifully, beautifully and honestly written. Yes. But it is the HOW of how to “receive, cling, and allow Christ to be what binds your heart together” that is always so, so challenging.
Thank Angie! I have to repeat these truths to me all the time.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Maybe it’s just wisdom that comes from time and having “tried on” so many different things in order to establish my identity. Maybe it’s in what I do? And how well I do it? Maybe it’s in how I look? Maybe it’s in what I say or do? Maybe it’s in how well I cook or entertain? I, I, I. For so many years I tried to “control” what people thought of me. I wore masks and attempted to please everyone. Maybe it’s gradual, but the more I got my eyes off myself and got them onto God, the more HE was able to shape my identity in Christ. I found that I thought less about me and how I came across and more about others and how I could reach out to them. I definitely know that getting my eyes on the ONLY one who could truly tell me who I am, gave me a new freedom to be the person God created me to be and to feel comfortable in my own skin. Living to an audience of ONE is a great move when having an identity crisis, no matter what stage of life you’re in….
Beautiful post. Sooo on the mark for me. And your writing, dear girl! Thankyou! I’m sending this one to my husband to read !
Living intentionally for an audience of One is really the only answer for my identity crisis. It’s comforting to remember that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves! Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we might present to You a heart of wisdom.” Thanks for sharing.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Sounds like you’ve got the right idea! 🙂
Well said Shawn,
Thank-you for sharing this with us.
Have a blessed day,
It’s amazing how our hearts are so prone to wander at any season of life. Thank you for your lovely comment.
Wow Anjuli, I don’t normally comment here but your post went straight to my heart. It was like I could have written this myself. I am in a state of constant striving…to have a cleaner house, more “perfect” body, better planned meals, more obedient kids, the list goes on…never good enough. What a beautifully written reminder that Jesus is what makes us enough…not anything we can or can’t achieve or what anyone else thinks of us. Thank you so much for sharing!
ANNE, I’m so glad you commented! The striving is so exhausting isnt’ it?! When we find our peace in Christ, we are so much more freee to stay with ourselves. May the Lord grow our hearts to trust in Him.
Jessica Sommer says
Wow! Amazing! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for being so honest. I have and do feel the same, it all gets a bit tiring all the hats we wear as mothers, sisters, friends, daughters, wives etc. I’m off to find my final identity in Christ x
I hope you had a beautiful day! Praying both our hearts can rest in Christ.
Jasmine Ruigrok says
Wow, yes… Thankyou for sharing this, you are not alone! I think for me that I can find it difficult to answer those probing questions when I’m so busy running off my feet, trying to be everything for everyone. It takes silence, deliberately stopping to hear God’s voice gently reminding us He is enough, and we have Him, so why are we striving? Thankyou again for this timely reminder. xx
Thanks for commenting and for the reminder that I am not alone. I pray we can listen to God’s gentle voice.
Karen van Rooyen says
Anjuli, this message resonates so loudly today! I believe as women we all experience this but in more recent times, social media has made it worse. How wonderful to know Jesus is there. The closer we draw to Him, the more we find our identity in Him.
Thank you for this very powerful message today.
I totally believe that we have to be vigilant with our hearts when we are on social media. I think God can use it as a way to reveal sin. Thank you for sharing.
Love always, anjuli
This post was perfect and so timely for me. God knew. And honestly, I know, too. I just fail to remember.
I went to your IG link and am blown away by what you are doing there. What an amazing gift you are giving to precious moms through the power of social media. Thank you for your ministry.
Thank you Donna! I’m so grateful God can use social media for good. I am grateful to be a part of this ministry to moms who are struggling.
Michele Morin says
Thank you, Anjuli, for your honest portrayal of a following life in the trenches of motherhood. We are at very different phases in the process, you with a baby waving to you from a crib, and me with a tall, deep-voiced college boy waving goodbye to me today in the dooryard. There are so many things I wish I had done better and so many points of resolve for this very day where I will fall short. Along with you, I will cling to Christ for grace and mercy–and strength for a positive trajectory going forward.
Anjuli paschall says
You comment made me cry! I can’t imagine waving goodbye to my college aged kid! God is faithful to meet us in every season. Blessings to you!!!
Thank you for your openness and honesty! Thank you for admitting that the human part of you sometimes wants/needs to be accepted and that you want to be “enough.” This was so perfect for me! Of late, I have been struggling to find peace in so many areas of my life. It wasn’t until I started meditating on specific scriptures about peace, went to the altar broken, fasted, and consistently prayed for peace that I learned that my identity needs to wrapped up in Christ. My strength, joy, peace, contentment, confidence, and everything else that I am comes from knowing who I am in Him. There are still times when I still struggle with not being all of the “enoughs,” but I can only stay in my pit of despair so long before I remember to fix my thoughts on the truth of God’s words. Only then and there do I fight the lies of the enemy. I then find peace and know that I am more than enough!
Thank you so much for sharing Anjuli! You spoke just what I needed to hear!
Thanks for sharing! I loved what you shared about meditating on scripture. I read recently how rhythms really create habits. I went to start integrating this into my life more.
Beautiful and relatable! Although my one and only Daughter is grown. I live with sevetal “ life -altering” diseases and unable to work, being home and having all the thinking time, I rehearse so much in my head, thinking how can I improve myself, how do I know what my job is , why can’t I be good enough, pretty enough, and strong enough to do all the things I want and think I “need “ to do….
Often these thoughts run through my mind for hours once I try and lie down for a nap and at bedtime. This a great reminder and I need to Cling to Christ more and see myself in his eyes…
Hope you ladies have a great day!:)
Beth Williams says
Everyone tries to be “perfect”. We want the world to see only the best in us. Emily P. Freeman in her book “Grace for the Good Girl” talks about being “real” and taking the masks off. We need to quit striving, & doing for others to like us. We should just be ourselves. In our humanity we all want to be accepted & loved. Most think we have to try harder, be prettier, etc. No! We just need to be ourselves. Only Christ can give us the peace & joy our souls dearly need. It isn’t the pretty Instagram pic, or the Face book feed/number of likes, etc. It is only found in Christ. People should just tell others “if you don’t like me, then talk to Jesus. He is the one who made me.” Lately I’ve been told that people like/enjoy my company because I’m real. I just act naturally. No pretending here. I care deeply for others & let it show. No masks, faking. What you see is what you’re getting.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
And what we “get” is awesome!!
Happy Monday sweet lady!
I long for that some kind of freedom. Taking my mask off is a slow and painful process. But I am thankful for the process. I’m thankful God is patient with me. Blessings to you!
Donna C says
Anjuli, thank you for sharing this open and oh so honest post. How to slow down long enough to hear God speak to me is something I struggle with. There just isn’t enough hours in a day. Thank you for sharing your heart and for reminding me to let Christ carve and mold my identity.
God is endlessly patient. Thank goodness! Praying you find God in the midst of the busy. Blessings!
So poignant and honest! Deeply felt.
Thank you for your openness.
If social media is the problem – the sickness – causing so many women to self doubt, criticize themselves and compare themselves to the manufactured, perfect instagrammed lives they see online, then I say with humility and respect that we need to stop parktaking in social media. We are doing this to ourselves, and we can so easily stop it and focus on being present in the lives God has given us to live.
Couldn’t have said it any better, Susan! I have a full time wonderful job as a teacher and am married a man who is a cpa and partner of a very successful firm—-neither of us has ever had an Instagram or Facebook account—EVER! So, we have time for morning Devos, pulling weeds, exercising, working long hours at times, etc. I’ve never known it, don’t miss it, and don’t want to know it. I get my news and updates from fam and friends—with an old fashioned phone call or pics via text. So much talk of feeling not perfect bc of social media—-slay the dragon—end it! You may find it refreshing and have more time for intimate friendships and meaningful time with Christ, your kiddos, almost anything….
Have a great week ahead ladies!
Thanks for sharing. Taking breaks from social media is always good for the soul.
Thank-you for sharing your well thought words. I’ve come to realize the more complicated things are the less focused I become. Living life more simply is what helps me focus on what’s more meaningful and truly matters.
Have a blessed day all,
Simplicity has been something I’ve Been thinking about a lot recently. Thanks for sharing.
Jenny K says
I love this part “There is a deep longing to be okay, liked, and known. When my identity can’t find a resting place, I become restless. My identity can be like a ravenous beast devouring anything that mimics God. But I am never satisfied until I find my satisfaction in Christ.” This is such a great truth to think about and be brought back to again and again. Thank you!
You are welcome. I’m so grateful to be in this community of women seekin after Jesus.
Becky Keife says
Friend, you were made for this! Made to put the struggles of womankind into words so that we all could know we are not alone — and there is hope! I resonate with every word of this way more than I want to admit. Thank you for showing up here with such beauty and honesty so that Christ can show through you. xx
Identity Crisis… Boy do I ever know about that one. In my Hmong traditional culture, the majority of older people definitely will make a woman feel like they have no identity once they are married. We simply are so and so’s wife, mom, daughter in law. Our names are forgotten and no one on the husband’s side of the family knows your first name. I recall when I first got married, my boss at work called to tell me something and upon hearing my name when my mom in law picked up the phone, she had no idea who he was talking about. She hanged up and said to me that someone wanted to speak with a Maylee. I was taken aback and even hurt at that moment that she had no idea who her daughter in law was. Another time was when I was at a conference of women from our culture and it was rather comical that all these ladies, ranging from age 16 to 80 had no idea what to put on their name tags. What name should we use? Obviously we can’t use our first name otherwise no one would know who that was. So we all just used our husband name and added Mrs. in front of it. My own dad started calling me by my husband’s name and I was deeply hurt but I have learned that no matter what my name is or will be, I am a child of God and he knows me, he calls me by my name and that is enough for me. Thank you for sharing.
Summer Rae says
Praise Jesus! What an amazing answer to a prayer… thank you for letting God use you and your true gift of words. I pray you and your family’s day is blessed!