I have been on stage my whole life. From the time I could walk I was in dance class and I pretty much came out of the womb singing. It was no surprise to my family that I wanted to be a performer. Any opportunity to be on stage brought me joy. From children’s youth theatre, plays, and the choir at church, to drama at school, I couldn’t get enough. When I was a teenager I was cast in my first professional production and I never looked backed.
30 years of identifying myself as a performer. 30 years of life on stage for all to see. 30 years of stage makeup, spotlights, and “the show must go on” as my life motto. So when I felt a call to leave it all behind and follow Jesus in a new direction, surprisingly, I was ready. I had lived my dream. It was wonderful but I was excited and ready to let the Lord dream for me. What I wasn’t ready for was to give up my title.
We live in a culture where we are defined by what we do. “Hi, nice to meet you. What do you do?” It’s apart of our daily conversation. It’s what we automatically say and, “I’m an actor” had been my response my entire life. Not for me, it wasn’t just what I did, it was who I was – an Actor with a capital A.
I followed the Lord’s leading and retired from a lifetime on the stage and enrolled in Seminary. I wanted to be equipped in a more formal way to bring the joy of the gospel everywhere I went. But I had no idea what that would look like. I didn’t leave one career and enter into another. I spent a few years as a student, becoming a wife and insta-mom, and trying to find my identity off the stage.
Feeling unstable without a “real title” (especially one that wowed and fascinated people) I would cry out in sadness and discomfort, “Who am I, Lord?!” I knew in my mind that I was more than my title but I was struggling to find that truth in my heart.
“YOU ARE MINE.”
Those were the words that rang in my entire spirit. “You are mine,” he said. Without any frustration or impatience, his words gently and powerfully touched my soul.
It was so simple and yet life-changing and is nothing new. The Lord has been telling this to his people who long for identity and confidence long before my identity crisis.
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; YOU ARE MINE” (emphasis added) Isaiah 43:1 NLT.
When we find our identity as a child of God, nothing and no one can take it away. No career change, relationship status update, or lifestyle choices can alter what was sown into us from the beginning. There is nothing more powerful than belonging to Lord. This truth changes the way we see ourselves and walk in the world.
Joyfully known and chosen.
I am his, so are you.