When I worked with youth (shout out to CPPC, North Raleigh, and SAPC), identity was always a topic of discussion. Middle and High school years are all about identity...figuring out who you are and communicating your identity to the world around you. It's also about recognizing how much of your identity you let others define for you.
In some ways, I feel like I am back in middle or high school trying to redefine who I am and how I want the world to see me. And guess what? It's still hard :/ On Sunday (5/19), I will celebrate one year of ordained ministry. One very full year as a pastor, a role which is defined by lots of different people in lots of different ways.
This role "pastor" has changed me...some. My work and my faith are more intertwined than ever before. My identities as friend, family member, and pastor are sometimes blurred and sometimes not.
What I struggle with is how much I let this role define me and how much I define the role. I'll let you in on a secret...we're not given a list of "do's" and "don'ts" when we're ordained into this role. We're actually encouraged to step into it as freely and authentically as possible.
So, today, here is what I can say about my pastor-wife-friend-daughter-self:
- I love people.
- I love God.
- I enjoy running.
- I like not being "on."
- I love to laugh.
- I need to be reminded not to take life (and myself) too seriously.
- I like scotch (bet you didn't see that one coming...I just learned this about myself).
- I like to be adventurous and take risks, but not by myself.
- I like social media.
- I'm a church nerd (I know, big surprise).
- I like to ask "why?"
- I need community roots to feel comfortable.
- I love languages and translating.
- I admire loyalty and commitment in people.
- I like to dance and have been known to be silly :)
Knowing and owning our identity is important for living comfortably in our own skin. It also helps others know how best to relate to us. I doubt I'll ever have my whole identity ironed out, but it's nice to know that as I grow into new roles and change I don't lose past identities or morph into something completely defined by others. I am and will forever be Dawn.