Identity and Faith in Christ: A Semi-Rambling Essay from a Non-Professional

Blog

Please read these words that are infinitely better than mine:

Philippians 4
Isaiah 43:1
and listen to Oceans by Hillsong United
Matthew 14:22-23
Ephesians 2:1-10
James 2:26

abigail-hammackIn college I lost my sight. Not my literal sight; we’re about to get metaphorical up in here. I lost sight of my identity in Christ. As a born and bred Christian gal I know all the Christian buzzwords, I have a vast knowledge of hymnals, and I’ve taken my fair share of pew naps. I’ve been lovingly berated with the idea that I should do all things through Christ. In fact, and out of context, I can DO all things through Christ. But what happens when you only do things for yourself? When your mind and your heart are crippled by clinical anxiety and the desperate search for meaning in your adult years? You finally wake up one day and God kinds, gently slaps your face and helps you realize that although you have faith in God as a general concept, you don’t really have faith in God on a daily basis. You’re not really remembering who you are as a follower and lover of Christ. Yikes.

This is a constant struggle of mine. Day-to-day realness, and identity in Christ. Faith that He’ll provide a way and direction for my life; faith that He’ll use me and I should let Him. The ever-present need to realize and remember that I am His, and He is mine. And right now that is the number one priority in my life and thoughts. As in it should be the number one priority in my life and thoughts. Let’s be clear: it almost never is. Because, well, I guess since the fall of man we struggle HARD for perfection. Thankfully we got Grace. That’s a whole other essay.

The problem is that our struggle, or mine specifically if you want to be left out for now, for perfection is futile and discouraging. And then there’s the part where we’re not even striving for the right thing. Guys, we’re almost never putting our best efforts and our God-given talents to work for the right reason or purpose.

In Greek mythology there was a man named Sisyphus whose punishment was to continually roll a big ol’ boulder up a hill, have his heart shattered as it rolled back down, and then do the same thing again and again and again. Some say that it doesn’t really matter what you’re working for if you’re giving effort and you’re doing your best. It’s the hard work that drives the purpose. You’ve created meaning because of the work you put in. Well, that’s crap. That essentially makes you Sisyphus: lugging that rock, working for something that is all for naught.

I’m not here to say your job and your career matter. This isn’t one of those things. Yes, you can love your job! I hope you do! I want to love my job. Because your job or your career can be immensely meaningful, profound, helpful and a blessing to others, world-changing, or life-giving. I hope it is! I want a job like that. But what you DO is not who you ARE. We cannot let our identities lie outside of Christ. We are first and foremost, His. And He is ours.

Let me take this chance to say I do not mean to preach. I mean to encourage. I mean to share an epiphany of sorts that’s been told to me by many but not realized or appreciated until recent years. I mean to tell you that I am not perfect and that I’m going to stop trying to be.

For years and years (I guess technically for 16?) I went to school. I did school. I did all the extracurriculars. I got a decent scholarship for college. I went to college. I twas freaking awesome. I majored in what I was good at: journalism and mass communications and, when I turned 21, partying. I was kind of popular. I always had like 5 jobs. I was incredibly involved in my sorority. I studied abroad. I did everything you do in college and I was good at it. I was good at it! I was smart enough, I worked super hard, and I had the best friends ever. I still have the best friends ever. But what I wasn’t good at was realizing that my roots in Christ were more like lil wispy plants that kinda brush at your feet and tickle your toes. I didn’t have the armor of God strapped to me when I went to class. I didn’t wear my breastplate of righteousness to the bars! I wore a PBR t-shirt. And I’m not saying that I regret what I did or I shouldn’t have poured everything into my favorite job of welcoming students to K-State and equipping them for their future, but I’m saying I regret the fact that I didn’t do everything with as much fervor and zeal as I had because it was fueled by Christ’s love, strength, and mercy. I lost sight of furthering the Kingdom. I lost sight of who I was. Of who I am! Because I am His. And He is mine.

My goals and my job and my relationships were by no means futile; they were not Sisyphean, but letting myself be plagued with worry, doubt, anxiety, fear, and sometimes pride because I needed to be the absolute best version of myself, was certainly Sisyphean. That was futile. What was the reason to strive toward success? Spite? Self-satisfaction? To prove to those people that I was someone? I am someone! But what is that someone doing if it’s not to glorify God? What is that someone doing if they are not rooted and built up in Christ?

As my senior year ended and job search became more full-time, I struggled again with who I wanted to be. And the anxiety continued; the faith was lost. The looking to Christ in times of confusion was nowhere to be seen. The calling out to God in times of heartache was put in a box. The pleading with God and acceptance of forgiveness in times of sin was shoved under the bed. And you know what, sometimes it still is. But God, thank you, by the way, was there to pull me out of waves when I lost faith and fell down. And He reminded me, not for the final time, that it never matters how long it takes, and it doesn’t matter what you do if you do it for Him. God’s just trying to say, “do it for me.” He’s just looking you in the face asking you to serve Him in literally any way. So all I’m trying to do is do it for Him.

Because I am His and He is mine.

~Contributed by Abigail Hammack. To read more of Abigail’s thoughts, check out her blog.