identity crisis.

Hi, my name is Laura Armstrong and I am in the midst of a quarter-life identity crisis.

“Hi, Laura” says the ICVA (Identity Crises Victims Anonymous) crowd.

Could it be because I’m currently working a part-time job that has nothing to do with my field of study, making me feel completely incapable of achieving what I hope to do with my life? Is it the fact that I had to give up a last name that became an identification marker for years and the basis of a lot of fun nicknames? Maybe it’s that I’m a newly married, young woman who is trying to find her bearings as a new wife. Or could it be that I desperately miss and crave the community that is no longer down the road or in the same house as me?

I’ll take “All of the above” for 400, please, Alex.

Even worse, I don’t know how to make it go away. I find my interactions with others seeping with insecurity. Am I upsetting them? Did I do something to make them not want to be around me anymore? Have I lost my extroverted side?

The volume of questions that circle in my mind is deafening.

I gotta be real. I struggle with blog posts like this. The ones that are honest and vulnerable. Mainly because I think, “Save it for your journal, honey. You’re making other people uncomfortable and like they have to do something about your problems.”

This is mean and not right, I know. And for those who I know who blog like this, keep it up. I’m just jealous I can’t be that transparent. It stems from a deep cynicism which has actually improved over the years. So thank you, Jesus, for that.

And thank you, Jesus, for  shaping my identity. For telling me that regardless of where I am, my job (ESPECIALLY my job), friendships, my appearance, etc. that you are the basis of my identity. When I was in junior high, my youth leader imparted great wisdom to the gangly and awkward:

“Find your identity in what does not change. Find it in Jesus Christ”

12 years later, that phrase still pierces my heart. I am so quick to find who I am in the affirmation of my friends, the love of my husband, or an image I can portray to others. But in fact, friends and husbands make mistakes, and I do not have the strength to wear the mask of confidence and security 24/7.

So why talk about this? Why not save it for my journal where the Lord and I can duke it out. Because I need help with this. I need my friends to point me toward Christ before they point me toward their love for me. I need truth spoken to me that reminds me that whatever anxiety and insecurity I feel is but a grain of sand as compared to the vast ocean of God’s acceptance and identity of me as his daughter. I need the bind of the enemy’s hand to shrivel in the light of what God says is true.

I’m currently in the middle of a high school hallway writing this, listening to a Taylor grad teacher in the other room talk about how a kid tried to share a joint with him while he lived on campus. That’s weird. But what’s weirder is that I’m about one hug away from tears in the middle of a day of substituting. I feel a great sense of sadness underpinned with an overwhelming calm–like when I cry uncontrollably in the arms of my husband, feeling every emotion x100 but knowing that I’m safe within his grasp. In this way, he is such a physical representation of God’s embrace. I love him for that.

And today, I’m going to trust the voice of one who says this,

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12

I am shamelessly a work in progress. I am wrecklessly loved by my Creator. I am eternally identified by Jesus Christ.

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8 thoughts on “identity crisis.

  1. For what it’s worth, Laura, these posts are the most meaningful to me. There’s some strange paradox that the more personal something is, the more universal it becomes. That’s the thing about art (and I count blogs among art). If you try to keep it impersonal, it’ll always remain just that. Beautiful writing here.

    I’m going through many of these same things (except for the part about the husband, yeah?). Especially the job stuff. It never feels like business only for me when I don’t get a response at all (or just get a rejection). It feels so personal. Like what am I qualified for? What did I go to college for? All of this stuff.

    I don’t really have a solution or some neat wrap-up to all of this. Just hoping it helps a little to know that I’m there too. That so much of our generation is there too.

    • Thanks for the empathy, Michael. I know so many people wrestle with similar questions and frustrations. Thanks for being among those finally willing to admit it. And I’m so glad you consider blogging art. I’m not surprised, actually…you being a writer and what not. But words are absolutely art. Thanks for the encouragement, brotha.

  2. Totally understand what you mean! Life post-Taylor is weird in a lot of ways and adjusting is awkward and {a little bit} painful. Praying for you lady! Coffee date soon?

  3. Oh, I wish we could sit down over a cup of Starbucks.I so identify w/what you said…I feel like my whole christian life has been than same struggle…sometimes stronger times than others but always present. I was just sharing in the hospital w/my mom this week that I believe everything happens in life to make us more dependent on God. I can also identify with you and w/what you say and its an encouragement to me that I am not the only one that has struggled with exact same feelings and thoughts.
    Something that I have struggled with is that when I am focused on all “who am I” stuff I start to focus too much on me and pretty soon I am giving into the devil getting my focus off of what only God can do and the minute by minute miracles and the ways I can serve HIM. I am not saying that is you believe me….it has been my struggle. I will be living at my mom’s the rest of the week. Since this whole process has started with my mom having to live there and not being home at night in my own bed, I have not had any friends contact me and that hurts…another identity crisis….Love you! PS you should write a book….seriously!

  4. Laura, I can’t express how refreshing it is to read this blog! I SO know what you mean about losing your identity after changing your last name and leaving Taylor. It’s a double wammy, and it’s such a tough adjustment. It is so good to read a blog from a newlywed that is vulnerable about the hard parts of life rather than just the high points. Thank you for this. Miss you, Laura!

  5. Pingback: redemption. « the strong ones

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