There was a season in my writing life that authoring a fantasy, Lord of the Rings-esque novel was my ultimate dream. My best friend, Megan, was right there beside me as we co-authored the epic saga of our generation. We’re a long way from our Middle Earth days, but we continue to write. It is with great pleasure and a laugh of irony that I welcome Megan Royals to the tribe today. She is wife to her high-school sweetheart Eric and mother to three mesmerizing little girls. Though the miles to her home in Dallas, Texas are many, you’ll find her beautiful heart close and inviting as she shares her perspective on identity with us.
After becoming a mom it has been easy for me to let motherhood become my identity. I spend so much time and energy on my children that it’s difficult to have any sort of life outside of them. I went through a period where I would find myself at a party sans kids and feel uncomfortable without a baby on my hip. Babies are high maintenance but they are great for conversation lulls!
The problem with this “mom identity” is that it is exhausting and really easy to feel guilt over how well I think I’m doing. Not only that, but my children will eventually leave home and, like it or not, the full time mom gig will no longer be available to me. If my identity has been built on my motherhood status how will I transition to being an empty nester?
What is your identity? What do you think about yourself? Do you think of yourself as a participant in a certain group? Would you describe yourself by your job or your most prominent role?
The problem with these kinds of identities is that they can be removed. They’re like layers of clothing that can be taken off or changed. When you’ve been wearing a certain identity for a long time and it is removed, an identity crisis often follows. Most people would not intentionally change their identity but we cannot control our circumstances. Sometimes a much loved role that we once filled is taken away from us.
We all have roles to fill. We all have things we love and people that we align ourselves with. Problems arise though when we base our identity on these things. To find our true identity we need to peel back all of the layers that make up our self until we our left with our true core.
The one thing about us that always was and cannot change is this: you were created by a God who loves you. He fashioned you and all of your idiosyncrasies simply because he wanted you around. We were designed to be in a relationship with him. Even when there was a rift between God and man because of sin, God chose to bridge the gap and do whatever he had to do so that he could be in relationship with us once again.
When we have this relationship with God at our core, we have a foundation that we can stand on. When we feel confident that something within us is unshakeable then we can wear our roles with confidence. We can enjoy our jobs and the things we love while holding them loosely. If our identity is not dependent on these things then we don’t have to hold onto them with a death grip- afraid that if they slip away then our sense of self will be lost.
At the beginning of this year I recognized that I was in a spiritually stagnant season and I resolved to make time with the Lord a priority. Motherhood and all its sleepless glory banishes a good night’s sleep to a distant memory. In the early days with my babies, the idea of waking up any earlier than necessary sounded like a form of self torture! Now (praise Jesus!) my kids all sleep through the night and I no longer have a good excuse for not using my alarm clock. While losing some sleep is definitely not my favorite, I’ve found that starting my day off with the Lord gets me off on the right track. Sometimes I have to remind myself that just like I need to schedule workouts for my body to be strong and healthy, so I need to sit with God so that my spirit can be rejuvenated. When I sit with the Lord he speaks my identity over me and washes off any lies that I started to believe about myself.
You can connect with Megan Royals over at her website: meganroyals.wixsite.com. You are bound to love the stories of her sweet family told from her insightful perspective.