What is the most important role you have ever had? I suspect that many of my Soul Sisters would immediately say “motherhood”. However, we find that so many of us as moms place our whole identity into that role. Ultimately it makes our life unbalanced. When we shift our focus from motherhood as the core of our identity to “child of God” or “servant of Christ” things begin to take on a new perspective.
Pam Bailey [Intro]: Welcome to The Soul Sister podcast with Pam Bailey. Grab a cup of coffee, sister and let’s sit and chat about all of the things that lead us to a Christ-centered life, full of purpose and joy.
Pam Bailey: Hi, Soul Sisters. It’s Pam. Welcome to another episode of The Soul Sisters podcast with Pam Bailey. We are continuing this season in the topic of motherhood plus, and today we’re jumping into motherhood + identity. This will actually be a two-part podcast. So you’ll get a majority of the background of what we’re talking about today, and then I’ll finish it next Monday. There’s a lot of content about the subject of identity. And so I want to make sure that we really dive into this and have a true conversation of what this looks like.
All right, friends, we all wear a lot of hats. I am not alone. I’m going to list a few of mine and I know that we’re going to have some commonalities. I am a wife, I’m a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a mentor, a Bible teacher, a counselor, a neighbor, small business owner, podcaster, photographer. And I’m going to stop right there. I could list so many more and I know that so many of you listening, share a lot of those. And then you have your own separate list that just way exceeds what I have just named. One particular role in the reason that we’re all here today in this discussion is the role of motherhood, the motherhood hat. While many of us see this role as the most rewarding experience that God has given us, we often get lost in it. I can’t count how many times I’ve had a mother say, or if I’m really honest, this whole podcast is about me and revealing who Pam really is. I have said, “I don’t know who I am anymore” and “I have lost myself in the mundane of motherhood”. I’ve had conversations with seasoned mothers that once their children left the nest, they looked at me and said, “what now…? I don’t know what to do.”
There are times that throughout the day, I feel like I have nothing to show. I say that so often to my husband, when he comes home at night, “I don’t know what I did today. And I feel like I have nothing to show for it”. And it’s the old Pam that just wants to have success and show the success.
More than once I have wondered if I was on the verge of a mental breakdown and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a great idea that simply led to nothing. I am always looking for the next project. And why? Because I convinced myself that I’m lost in motherhood. I have nothing left to offer the great big old world and all of my once popular gifts and talents of young adulthood and careers have just vanished.
Sisters, hear me. My problem is not motherhood. Your problem is not motherhood. Our problem is that we have an identity crisis.
Each time that I have questioned who I am it is almost always when something in life surrounding motherhood didn’t turn out like I think it needed to. Let me list a few of these. And this is my life but I think that you’re going to find that you could probably check some of these off on your own life list as well.
- Starting a professional career while I was having my first child
- moving different states
- pursuing another career path
- Wondering if that career path truly valued my gifts and talents
- helping my husband in his career path
- not being financially stable
- having additional kids
- no longer using my professional degree
- not finding work
- My husband needing me more in his job or small business
- Choosing to homeschool
- And the big one is not being very good with structure and routines in my personal life
There are so many more that I can name and each of those forks in the road led me to making more plans or changing plans or coming up with 1000 new ideas about how to do different things. Why? Because I wasn’t settled in my identity.
Friends, this podcast is solely for me in case you’re wondering, and this is going to be my confession moment.
But hi, my name is Pam and I often struggle with wanting recognition.
I like to be praised and I know I’m not alone friends. It’s actually a very common human condition. We enjoy others noticing that we are alive and life is either amazing or lacking and I kind of want you to comment. We want to be noticed. We want accolades. And some of you are thinking, not me I don’t want anyone to gloat over me. And I would challenge you to think again, friend. Remember that time that a spouse or a close friend told you that you looked beautiful in your new dress or your latest hairstyle? Remember that warm, bubbly feeling that overtook you and then suddenly you had a smile on your face? It was in that moment that it was really nice and you feel good, right? God, isn’t beyond recognizing that you are his creation and that you’re beautiful and friends, he delights in his children, but God also knows that without Christ in our lives, our hearts are very dark. We live in sin and a simple recognition is never enough. We crave more. Our sinful hearts want to be wanted and needed and recognized. We want to be praised and adorned.
And sisters, every single one of us falls to pride. Our sinful nature, prefers to take our eyes off of God and onto ourselves. And all you have to do is look back at the garden at the beginning of the introduction of sin to see this play out.
Eve was deceived by the serpent in a conversation that told her that God isn’t going to be upset or harm her from eating the forbidden fruit. Instead, Satan turns the conversation and says, but “you’ll be like God, and your eyes will be opened”. Satan convinced Eve to take her eyes off of God and onto herself. She could be a better version of what God had created her to be. And friends isn’t it interesting that Satan deceived Eve in the very way that he himself failed. In his perfect creation, he decided that he wanted to be more and he wanted to be like God and be God and that was how Satan fell.
In order to take control of our pride we must first and foremost recognize that we are born into darkness and darkness resides in our hearts and our minds until we accept Christ as Lord. Galatians 2: 20 says I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
Sisters, when we begin the transformation of dying to the darkness and allowing the light of Christ to take over, we can gain control over pride. We begin to take our eyes off of ourselves and we put them onto Christ. And in this process, a new identity is formed.
Friends, no matter how you became a mother, whether it was that first moment of reading that pregnancy test, or the amazing phone call from foster care and adoption services, or maybe you just found yourself in a mothering role that you never saw coming. However, that process took place for you to have the role of mother…we as women instantly latch on to that role, because we were created to do that. We were created to be mothers. We carry it deep within our souls, and there is nothing wrong with taking this role seriously and treasuring the gift that God has bestowed upon us. But the issue arises when that role becomes our sole identity. Motherhood cannot be our sole identity. And so, if you go back to that list of those turning points that I had, or list your own turning points that you had, each of those are a direct reflection of an identity crisis. Because in that moment, friends, I placed my identity into motherhood or something else. Often, we place our identity in careers or dreams or goals.
And so, then when there’s a tipping point in any role, be it motherhood, a wife, a friend, any of it. Then we suddenly begin to question everything once again, because we’re placing our identity in roles.; instead of in Christ. We have all seen it happen. We are all guilty of it, but suddenly everything about us is wrapped up in motherhood and sisters I’m here today to challenge myself and all of my mama soul sisters, to make sure that the identity is completely saturated in Christ.
From a biblical perspective, our identity is found in God and it cannot be separated from him. Who we are, needs to be in direct relationship with Christ. For the believer it’s rather simple. There are two things;
- child of God
- servant of Christ.
The things that we do in response to this are additions to our true identity. They enable us to be the best version of ourselves as we serve various roles like motherhood. So, what does it mean that child of God and servant of God are our key identity? It means that we are passionately pursuing the father. We are consistently spending time and that allows us to keep our lives in balance. And sisters I say this all the time. So, this is not like some big moment that Pam is just revealing to all of us, but we have to spend consistent time with the father. And sisters, here’s part of another one of my confessions that when I consistently spend time with the father, I consistently spend less time being angry, frustrated, upset, yelling at my kids. And I find myself being a better mom.
A few podcast episodes ago I really challenged us to be imitators of Christ. And sisters if there’s one thing that I want my kids to imitate from my life, it is my passionate pursuit of God. I don’t want them to imitate all of the frustration and the anger and the yelling that sometimes becomes who I am as a mother. That’s not at all what I want them to imitate.
In order to keep my life in balance I have to spend consistent time with the father. In order to keep my identity in balance I have to spend consistent time with the father.
Sisters, I love the title of mother, and it is one of the greatest things that God has ever given me this side of heaven. But from beginning of time through eternity of all the different things that I could be titled and called named child of God and servant of God is the most important. And I know as women that is so hard for us to swallow because we truly value the gift of being a mother, but sisters, child of God and servant of Christ goes above your title of motherhood. It goes above your title of wife. It goes above your title of whatever, just fill in the blank. You were created to worship God; you are his image bearer.
And so, while we are not the perfect holy creation of God, he allows us to be in relationship with him through Christ and through the work of the holy spirit. So that we can be called child of God and we can be called servant of Christ. And when we begin to soak ourselves in that identity, then one, our life will be balanced. And two, every single time a tipping point comes, no matter what it is because sisters, you and I are going to consistently have tests and trials in life. And our hearts are going to be squeezed and they’re going to be challenged. And when your heart is squeezed and challenged, what comes out? And sometimes what comes out is not pretty, it’s really not pretty, but what we really want to happen when we are squeezed is all of those wonderful attributes that we just talked about in last week’s podcast. The goodness, the peace, the joy, the love, the faithfulness, the steadfastness. Those are the things that we want to bubble out, even in the test and trials, when we are really squeezed.
And so, sisters, next week, I want to do part two of this podcast. And I want to focus in on the psychological and the biblical definitions of identity. And you might be thinking, well, Pam, why didn’t you give me those first? Sisters, here’s what I want in the next week I want you to do some soul searching. And I want you to ask yourself a simple question is my focus of who I am solely on servant of Christ and child of God, or do I actually focus on the gifts and talents that God has given me and the opportunities? Do I define myself by those gifts and talents and opportunities? Or do I define myself by child of God and servant of God? And sisters, when I began doing research for this podcast on identity and I asked myself that soul searching question, I didn’t necessarily like my answer. And so, this is a challenge for me, as much as it is for you, for us to remember that our identity has to come in Christ. So, join me next week because we are going to look at what that means as we define it and how that plays out in our life.
Pam Bailey [Outro]: As always sisters thank you so much for sharing, liking, subscribing, commenting all of the things. I am forever grateful. And until next time, keep worshiping and finding joy in every moment.