As a woman I know all too well the struggle with identity. Made for More by Hannah Anderson is a refreshing take on how to resolve this by being found in Christ.
Identity Issues and the Being an Image Bearer
“Too often as women, we have restricted ourselves to the ‘pink’ parts of the Bible. When we identify first and foremost as women, we can begin to believe that knowledge of ourselves will come primarily through passages that speak to women’s issues or include heroines like Ruth or Esther. But when we do this, when we craft our learning and discipleship programs around being ‘women,’ we make womanhood the central focus of our pursuit of knowledge instead of Christ.” – Hannah Anderson
Just like the rest of Anderson’s book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image, this quote jumped off the page straight to my heart. It was as if she were saying exactly the things I longed to say but could not find the words for. This entire book captured the internal battle I have fought for so long.
Why do I feel the need to work and learn and grow so intensely when so many women seem content in their current situation? Why does my heart long for something that seems so far out of reach? Isn’t it wrong of me to want a skill or career that doesn’t function within my role in the home? Did everything I worked for before I got married get thrown out when I said I do and became a wife and stay-at-home mother?
The questions of my heart are deep and real. I have often felt as though I were sinning for feeling this way. I want to be home taking care of my children! I also want relationships. I want to decorate my home and care for everyone who enters. I also want to apply my mind to writing because it is the craft I love. I want to show my children what it means to have a mom who is committed to them, their well-being, and their joy. I also want them to see a mom who is fierce, hard-working, strong, and capable. I want to feel I didn’t waste my time going to college because the skills I gained are sitting useless.
I want to be a woman and a wife and a mom but mostly I want to be an image bearer.
I want the central focus of my identity to rely on Christ’s worth, His goodness, His grace, and His strength.
These questions have hung over my head, weighing me down. I have felt guilty for asking them and guilty for not asking them.
I feel like I’m sinning to want any work outside the home. I feel like I am betraying something inside me to not want it. I was resigning myself to believing whatever else I wanted was for another life because this one included diapers and bottles and goodnight kisses and I love it so much and would give up the rest of me for it.
The Real Hope for Identity Issues
Then I opened Made for More. In its pages I found that my questions were not mine alone and then I found peace. The deep longings of my heart to learn and work could accompany my deep desire to mother and love because they came from the same Creator. He made me this way. It is beautiful and deep and true.
I am meant to be an image bearer and as such I can be multifaceted in my pursuits and loves because my God is multifaceted in His knowledge and scope.
The beauty of that thought still brings tears to my eyes.
I still struggle with guilt. Even now as I choose to write rather than pick up the kitchen, I struggle internally with what role I ought to fulfill. But God is gracious, He is the only One who can fulfill me, my identity is found in him – not in the cleanliness of my house or the words on the page.
Because of that, I have the ability to show my daughter there is much beyond physical beauty and the accomplishing of goals to find identity in. God is the only One able to bear the weight of my identity and it is Him I seek to honor.
Right now I am knee deep in Anderson’s second book Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul and loving it! A follow up post is coming soon!
For other recommendations check out 6 Must Read Books for Christian Women
And for further discussion of identity, check out this post!
Do you have a favorite book you can recommend? Or something else that has helped you grow in your identity?