…yes, you heard right: My Identity Crisis.
I have been struggling with my identity for a while and just recently more intently. Who AM I?
When my kids were little I was somewhat assured of my identity. I was a Mom, a wife, a homemaker and I decorated my house and had people over. I was always into a home project whether it be painting a room, re-doing a flower bed or updating the color scheme and bed linens. If I wasn’t working on our home, I was planning a birthday party or getting my hair done or having coffee with a friend. Of course with little ones I was a non-stop parent caring for their needs 24/7. I was also very involved with Church and Mom’s Bible Study. I also enjoyed taking pictures and scrapbooking every memory. All of these projects helped me cope (with anxiety and depression) but I also burnt out because I had an expectation that someday “everything would be perfect.”
Well, my identity had to change a lot when our finances changed, we lost our beautiful home and started renting. My creative energies turned to blogging, crafting and scheming on how I could help with the family income working at home. See all my Crafty Creative Entrepreneur Endeavors post HERE! See my 5 Years of Blogging Triumphs HERE.
I am very influenced by The Farm Chicks and The Pioneer Woman and Selina Lake and Miss Mustard Seed. These lovely woman all have authored beautiful books and I had and still have a dream of my own book published of my work. My creative work. That particular dream took root almost 5 years ago and I made a specific goal list of what to do each year to “grow” my blog and succeed at this dream. In all realities, some of those goals have been accomplished but some have not. A couple months ago I was really seeking what to do next with my Creativity and thought I saw my “book” reality drawing near. I had lots of beautiful pictures and notes to begin my ABC book. But after I worked on it a few days (Graphic Design), I realized what a huge project a book is. I doubted that I had what it took to see it through. I question,” is all that work worth it?” I’ve put this dream on the shelf hoping that maybe in time, it will still see the light of day. However, I’ve come to realize that I have a choice what my days look like and I want to choose family and balance with my “creative” endeavors.
Even though I’m somewhat embarrassed to share that none of my creative endeavors have made much of any financial profit, I’m here to tell you that without the gift of Creativity (and the time and materials) I would not be as mentally healthy. I have realized that I need creativity and it is one of the best therapies for what ails me. All in all, it does not cost hardly anything right now as I’m more frugal than ever and use what I have or what I can borrow or gain from free piles or garage sales. I realize that if I didn’t have a hard working husband to pay for our needs I probably would be miserable trying to work at a job that didn’t suit me. I’m also a little embarrassed to admit that I’m a “high maintenance” girl who needs lots of sleep, naps, time to do nothing and time to be creative and be in nature. All of these personal needs take up most of my time besides taking care of my family’s needs.
So, here’s where my Identity Crisis comes in; Since the kids have gotten older I do have more time and I wish I could help with our family income to relieve my husband a little and without getting too personal but wanting to share realities; I’d love to have a little Christmas money, a little vacation money and some money to fix my car, a little money to go out on a date, etc. etc. Well, I’ve been trying hard at making an income at home and elsewhere. But, to no avail. God is saying “no” (OR “not now”).
Currently, I would like to be known as “Melanie, the talented Stylist and Photographer with a newly published book.” However, I have very few current photoshoot plans as I’ve felt God steering me to “integrate” real life into my styling and photography and planning less “extravagant” (and stressful) photoshoots that take up sooo much energy and leave very little of me for my family and friends and the energy needed to connect with them. Yes, did I mention I really am an Introvert who has little energy for social connection?
I think “humble pie” is on the menu in my “Identity Crisis.”
and “I have no idea what I’m doing.” has almost always been one of my continual thoughts during the past couple years of seeking a “Stylist” and now “Photographer” career. This continued thought is always followed by prayer.
Just had a thoughtful “texting” conversation with Annetta Bosakova on these topics…
I wrote…”God seems to keep gently reminding me that I am very much needed as a Mom, Wife and Homemaker and the gift of Creativity is to savor, enjoy and give. I keep fighting all of this cause I want identity, appreciation, a paycheck and a published book with my name on it….hehe!!”
Annetta wrote, ” I do believe that if we give it all to God and if it’s His will for our lives He will give all of that plus more! As long as we do it His way.
God told Abraham to give up Isaac, his gift from God, his love and identity as a Father. God gave him so much more because He obeyed and did the one thing that he didn’t want to do. How much more is it with us?
I realize it is my flesh that want that (identity, appreciation a paycheck, book, etc.). God can’t give it to me when it’s my flesh; I have to go beyond that, go with Him.
Only God can whisper into your heart the things He is teaching you. Ask Him, tell Him to show you so that you know without a doubt. He will whisper the answers. You have to be ready to hear. You might already hear it echoing through your heart.
He is faithful and He loves it when His children ask Him what He is trying to teach them.
If we creatives really check our motives, they are usually self-centered with good intentions. That’s the truth. We want to be recognized, appreciated, to be sought after and so on (those are the motives). …to give God glory are the good intentions.
It’s a daily struggle. It’s still one for me. Do what you are hearing as truth because this IS Him. Doing those things we don’t want to, but know He is telling us to is always the right things to do….He wants you to be obedient to Him, as a Father, He is hoping you listen. When our kids listen it makes us happy and we want to bless them. Same with our Father…”
I believe Annetta was used by God to keep me gently moving toward God’s Plan for this Season. I honestly don’t exactly like the plan. I want excitement and magical photoshoots. I’m still taking lots of pictures but it is almost all everyday- life type pics.
God seems to confirm His thoughts through different people and even Social Media…the same day I was pondering writing about this I stumbled across this blog post by Wendy Cunningham, a photographer, on her Identity Struggle and Time for a Change. …an excerpt from her post, “I am not sure why my identity is something that terrifies me. But it does. And I spent years trying to make a name for myself as a wedding photographer because I envied all of these women (and men) who were creating beautiful images. I envied those photographers who appeared to have their life together so perfectly, and they were using their platform to do great and amazing things.” “… But I feel that my calling is to be an encourager to others and to use my platform to bring glory to God… not my identity.”
Her post really spoke to me and I need to go read it again! Thanks for being honest Wendy! You spoke to a lot of us!
IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT ME FOLKS! How do I let go of me and my obsession with myself, my dreams, my goals and my identity? Pray. Ask God to show me what He wants.
I also love Miss Mustard Seed’s wisdom in her series about how her business began. I related and still relate to “an unexpected expense made me crumple on the floor.” and this letter to a new blogger was a reminder that God has a plan…”Neglect not the gift that is in thee.”