label vs identity

by Kristen

“How are you?”

It was an honest question, and the one asking wanted an honest answer. I knew the context in which it was being asked, but that context was such a small slice of my day I was afraid my answer would seem cold.

I shrugged and said, “I think I’m a little numb. It’s one more thing.”

Then I outlined the losses and changes and transitions of the last six weeks.

In a month and a half a lot of labels have been ripped off. Some left sticky residue and people will see the mark whether or not they knew me when I wore the labels. Others came off with no external trace. But all were ways I was comfortable describing myself: roles, relationships, titles, responsibilities.

It hurts to rip adhesive off skin. It hurts to change. It hurts to lose people and relationship. Transitions are uncomfortable, and multiple transitions at the same time can be disorienting. The discomfort and disorientation are real. There are emotions upon emotions.

But I’m realizing something greater. I am still me. My identity has not changed. The labels were skin deep—even if I’d worn them for decades—yet my identity is soul deep.

In the tumult of loss and newness, my identity is fixed. It is a constant amongst the variables.

So I shift my focus from the chaos to the Creator. The One in whom I am secure. The One who never looked at the labels anyway because He sees me for who I really am.

It’s still hard to articulate how I am, but it’s clear who I am.


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