You are not your body.
You are not your house.
You are not your car.
You are not your job.
That’s what my yoga instructor said to our class yesterday. (I don’t remember if that was before or after I did some unpronounceable pose that I’ll be recovering from for the next four days.)
When Chris and I arrived in San Francisco, we would have never said that our jobs defined our value, but that is exactly what we believed. I had been raising a baby and spending my work hours telling pagan high school kids that they were worth something to God, that their lives were more than the sum of their successes (or failures). I had the joy of watching God change the way these kids viewed their value, their families, their futures. To me there was nothing more valuable I could be doing with my life.
Chris was a man struggling to figure out his calling. Did God care about software sales? Did Chris care about software sales? Was Chris’ value based on how quickly he was promoted? How often people believed he was brilliant? Were we going to do the whole “move from place to place in pursuit of success” thing?
You are not the sum of your good works.
I knew staying home with my son was valuable, but even as I had struggled to offer kids hope that they were loved by God unconditionally, whether or not they made it into Prestigious University, I still believed that I could somehow be more loved by God if my good works could add up to enough. Loving my kid never seemed like enough.
I’ve said that San Francisco changed us. And what I mean when I say that is this: Over the past 19 months, we’ve begun to BELIEVE something we always professed but never fully lived into. We’ve begun to believe that who we are is not based on any labels we’ve ever claimed for ourselves, whether it was super awesome sales guy or Young Life staff woman. We’ve begun to believe that Jesus’ acceptance and restoration in our lives makes us our true selves. We’ve begun to believe that every other label we’ve tried on (even the ones that are wonderful…even my work in ministry and my love for it) cannot be the way we deem ourselves fit for God’s love.
God loves me. I am not my job. I am not my title. (That’s why I don’t cringe any more—okay, most of the time—when I call myself a Stay at Home Mom. That’s why I don’t have to counter that title with my former title.)
I’m looking forward to fleshing this out and explaining how we came to this place in our lives. But for now, this is a “true thing I know so far.” If you want to read a much more challenging and beautiful post with many more “true things,” go read Ray Hollenbach’s post at his blog Students of Jesus: “The Truest Things I Know (So Far)” and be encouraged.