Through my adult life, I have always struggled with my identity. I have a steady job that I enjoy, but due to my personality I am not the kind of person who receives my identity from my job or career. My family life is complicated, and this has lead me unable to have an identity within normal family roles. Until recently, I have never been a person with hobbies or interests. This again has led me without a path for gaining an identity.
For years, I allowed the church organization to be my identity. I came to value myself, not based on my religious beliefs, but based upon my ability to serve through the church organization. I loved small groups, and loved the challenges of leading a small group. I found a strong niche for myself in managing the cash flow of church start ups, and gained in identity for myself in that role. I loved the service aspects of a church organization, doing everything including mopping floors, plunging toilets, setting up chairs, teaching children, and all the thousands of small tasks it takes to continue the activities of the church organization. The performance of all these tasks became my identity.
As a result of a complicated life, I found I no longer had the time or energy to do any of the tasks that I had done before. I was unable to have the time to mop floors, plunge toilets, and setup chairs. Due to changes in my role in my church, and the maturing of the church, my roles as financial manager and small group leadership were no longer needed. It was also clear to me that teaching children was not in my area of giftedness, and I needed to relinquish that role.
Church life was thrilling when I could stay involved. But, when my life got complicated and the church needs changed, I had to exit the business of church. The challenge then was to find my identity without the thrill of being needed at church.
I found this identity through participating in a much simpler life. I found a church that regularly practices communion, and I attend when possible. Each week, I read the bible verses from the lectionary. I read liturgical prayers of the past. I read the psalms.
In this simplicity, I gave up my own identity and saw a new glimpse of God.