I felt invalidated for a long time.
It began in a faith culture where women were to be quiet and keep their spiritual convictions to themselves.
It moved into my first working environment where my success was excused as youthful energy.
And then motherhood—how in the world do you validate yourself in motherhood? I’ve decided it’s nearly impossible.
So the fact that I am passionate about my faith, young and new to overseas work, and a mother to a toddler stirred up a perfect storm in my life.
This is the story of my mid-twenties identity crisis.
Let me lay it out for you: I’m a fairly strong-willed, opinionated woman. I consider the Holy Spirit my greatest companion, and He only empowers me further. I’m a sorry excuse for a stay-at-home mom.
I rejected the idea that I had nothing to offer the Kingdom. I resented the fact that I had been overlooked and ignored for the majority of my life. I balked at the expectation to make my children my only ministry.
So I worked harder and performed bigger and sought out affirmation from anyone who would deem me worthy of an honorable role.
I pursued a PhD. I beautified my blog. I learned a tonal language.
I networked my tail off. I articulated my gifts until I was blue in the face. I fought for a place at the table. ANY TABLE.
And yet, I still came up empty-handed.
So I obsessed over the concept of defining my role. My role in our family, on our team, in our country. It was an eat-breathe-sleep kind of obsession.
I allowed myself to be hurt when it seemed I wasn’t needed. I under-valued my mind, my body, and my design. I took to social media, hoping to find my voice again.
And when I still wasn’t presented with a prettily packaged role, I waved my entitlement around with a final white flag.
Someone, please notice me.
Someone, please tell me I’m capable, worthy, or useful.
For the majority of my life, I have been handcuffed by my desire for a title. I’ve longed to be esteemed by my peers and sought after by man.
I’ve filled roles like:
Student Body President
Teacher of the Year
Community Development Consultant
Something about the presence of a title gives me an unhealthy surge of pride and belonging. And I’ve craved it more and more until I can’t manufacture any more roles to fill.
And here I stand, still coming up empty-handed.
Because the role I’ve never sought after—the title I’ve never longed for—is the one called SERVANT.
I’ve been so concerned with knowing exactly what the Father made me to do in my lifetime that I’ve neglected doing what will advance the Kingdom today.
And I must confess this sin before you faithful women.
Because our roles are important. They are valuable and needed.
But there is no giftedness, no talent, no contribution greater than the humble offerings of a servant.
How did I miss this for so long?
This is where I wrap up this post. I can’t seem to put together a smooth transition, so I’m cutting to the chase.
We weren’t called to be great. We weren’t set apart to be admired.
We were commanded to lay down our lives. We were asked to become the least of these.
The thing we’ve actually been led to do is love well the person in front of us.
Yet we seek after followings. We crave being known. We desire to be the leaders, the trailblazers, the movers and the shakers.
What if we craved the simple? The unnoticed?
What if we sought to see others succeed?
What if we took all of our functions in the Body and upheld the one role we’ve all been given: SLAVES to the ultimate MASTER?
Would we be a better representation of the hope that is within us? Would we then be living out the New Testament in our hearts?
Servant is the role I wish I had been searching for this whole time.
It’s the only role that never leaves me empty-handed.