Identity Crisis

March 21, 2012
See more posts in My Heart

If someone were to ask you. Who are you? What would be your response? Obviously, your first sentence would be repeating your name. But what comes next?

I am a photographer

I am a basketball player

I am a wife

I am a hard worker

I am a speaker

I am part of Making Things Happen

I am a college athlete

I am mother *** (Clarifying.These stars are for all of you to identify with. I am not preggo or do I have any babies right now. 🙂 )

I am a twin *** (Again, I just threw these things out to be relatable 🙂 I am not a twin, but maybe you are?)

I am a go-getter

I am a state champion* (Almost, but not.)

I am a teacher* (Maybe, but my husband is)

Our lists of I am’s could go on forever. We often form our identity around these things. It is natural occurance that we identify or describe ourself as what we do. Our actions or our roles.

This was definitely my case. In high school, I played sports like nuts. Basketball and Soccer all year round from 6th grade through 12th. Some nights I would have three sports practices to attend. I was an athlete. I was a captain. If you would of asked me the question above I would have given you one of those answers. Then during the summer of 2002, three weeks before I was headed to college, I was playing in a soccer league to stay in shape and after a nasty tackle I had made a couple plays before the same girl came up behind me and took revenge. Little did I know that exact moment would change me so much. I limped off that field, later to find out that I tore my ACL. This news was definitely devastating, I got recruited to play basketball and this meant I would have to red shirt (or miss) my first year there. Yet throughout the tough surgery and yucky recovery, I was pretty optimistic about walking into college with a gimp leg.

Until, I hit my first open gym. As a part of the team, although I couldn’t participate I was required to be at every function. I remember walking into that gym and my heart fell apart. The thing you have to know about pre-season, is that it’s the first time the rest of the team gets to see your skills.  Open gym is where you show them what you got. So, here are these other freshman girls showing their ability. Showing who they are through their game, their mannerisms, their work ethic and there I was sitting on the sidelines.  I felt so confused. I wanted to show the team who I was. My skills, my attitude but without getting out on the court and gaining respect, I was at a total loss. I spent that whole first year searching and trying my hardest to fit in. Which in hindsight was ridiculous, but it was the only way I felt a part of something. To find a place where I felt like I could be myself.

Little did I know, that years later I would see my injury as a blessing. This was the moment that the Lord revealed to me that I had an identity crisis. My entire identity had been sports. Basketball in particular. I was so lost because that first year, I didn’t have the one thing that defined who I was in my mind. Going forward this still effected me as I was the toughest person on myself, every missed shot or intercepted pass, hit me at the core. Why? If I made a mistake, my self-worth was effected. Because  basketball was my everything. My performance directed how confident I was. How strong I was. How good I was. How worth it I was.

Now I know the Lord’s plan is better than I could ever imagine, but I kick myself that this insight didn’t come till years later. What kind of player would I be today? Now knowing that my identity is truly in Christ. My identity is placed on an unmovable rock. Oh, how I wish I could go back sometimes and hug that Gina. Give her that perspective.

But how easy is it even now to fall into the identity of what we do? How many of us value our worth based on how many clients we have? Or how many comments we get on blog posts?  In what our weight is on the scale? Or on how much we can accomplish?

This is why after busting our butts all day long to get things done we still feel hopeless by the stacks of to-dos (this was me two nights ago). This is why we let ourselves get wrapped up into competition. We are all wrapped up in performance. Oh how easy is it for us to fall into this trap.  Ryan Hall from FCA wrote these brilliant words, that my heart completely identified with. (I added some add lib)

When I am not performing well (as a photographer, wife, friend, a mother) I lose my hope. I lose my joy. I get down. I get depressed. But when you find your identity in Christ, that is unchanging. No matter what you do, you can’t mess that up.

Excellence is getting back up after you’ve fallen. It’s knowing that your true value is in Christ and that he is our hope for the future and our everything.

See it’s not based on your performance as a business owner, as a mother, as a marketing consultant. It’s based on HIM.

So today if you feel like you are running around with your head cut off, if you are underwater and feeling like you can’t breathe. If you feel like you are a complete failure. I encourage you to check yourself  for an identity crisis. Is your role as a mother taking over? Is your work as a photographer ruling your value? Remember that when you find your identity in Christ, that is unchanging.

No matter what you do, you can’t mess that up. So stand up and stand firm in your True Identity.

Gina the LORD is your identity. He lives in you.  What you do does not define who you are. What you look like does not define who you are. Whether you get your workload done does not define who you are. Whether your photography is recognized does not define who you are. Gina I challenge you to check yourself the second you sit down at your desk, open your computer, put your running shoes on or before a mentor call. Check to see where you are placing your identity. It is not in your performance, your works, your words, the amount of weddings published or blog posts read. It is not google analytics or facebook comments. It is in HIM. I want you to champion this, working on putting this truth deep in your heart. Because no circumstance can waiver your identity in him. No matter how hard you fail or fall down, are teased or mistreated. If you focus on things above the LORD will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding. Through anything. Gina you were not given a spirit of fear, but of a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So be powerful, stop fearing that your writing will offend or people will stop reading because its irrelevant. Learn and dig more into the fathers love and use that knowledge to love those in need. Gina have self-discipline to do the things that your body needs daily. Going to bed at a reasonable hour. Getting a workout in each morning. Time in the word and your daily read through the bible app. Action steps. Routine if possible and consistently giving the Lord your body, your plans, your decisions and heart. Feed others with this information G, as you are learning yourself. 

17 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. This is everything I have been struggling with, so thank you for the reminder! I want to take this post and bottle it up as a reminder on how to keep walking. Thank you! xoxo

  2. WOW! You must have gotten into my brain this morning. Well, every day I struggle with this self worth thing and the factors that measure it (in my crazy thinking brain). THANK you for writing this today…I needed it.

  3. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love him. I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places as I strive to live by His values.

  4. Thanks for sharing your heart. You have certainly touched mine and I have just become a reader of your blog in the last couple of weeks. Just wanted to say THanks!.

  5. I am so guilty of this. I put my worth in the hands of others everyday and end up running myself ragged trying to prove myself to PEOPLE. Meanwhile, I’m beating myself up inside for the long to-do list, the dream I’m NOT acting on, the number on the scale, number of blog comments…. etc. etc.!! I needed to hear this, obviously. I need to work on this, obviously. So. Today, I’m going to try something different and meditate on these words (of yours): Remember that when you find your identity in Christ, that is unchanging… Thanks, Gina! You are amazing!

  6. Ummm . . nothing you have written has ever been irrelevant – just to clarify 🙂 Also, how did I not know you are a twin??

  7. Thanks you for this wonderful post, it is something I need to be reminded of from time to time. I really identify with you especially because I was an athlete too. I went through this same struggle after I had Lily, I wasn’t sure who I was besides mom and wife (which are great things) but I needed to be April too 🙂 Also funny note that we must be the same age because I started college in 2002 as well, fun fun! Yay for college athletes!

  8. Oh man, did I ever go through this in my senior year of college, trying to figure out what to do next. Because school was my identity: I was good a school, at studying, at taking tests. And when it was coming to an end I felt so lost. I had to figure out who I really was, I had to be more than “book smart”, you can’t make a life around that, eventually you stop taking tests.
    I’d say I’m still searching for an easy answer to that question though…

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Gina is a Minneapolis based wedding and lifestyle photographer that loves bringing the LIFE out of people & capturing that energy on camera. Contact Me