"Your identity involves both inner character and outer conduct, which distinguish you from everyone else. Your visible conduct should consistently reflect your inner character. This forms your identity."*
The Visible Me: Reflected by how I'm known by others. Based upon my personality, actions, masks, pretenses, outer appearance
The Real Me: How the Lord knows me. Based upon my nature, character, and value system
Can you see where I'm headed with this post? It has been a while since I've blogged and the theme that keeps popping up, the one that is the subject of many conversations with those in my life who mentor me has been "how do I define myself?" I've realized over the last year and a half that I've slowly shifted from truly knowing who I am, knowing the visible and real me to labeling myself as "Counselor Cristyn." And initially it was cute and funny, but over the last few months I've realized it has become more of a mask, a way to hide my true self and convince others that I'm strong and wise. Not to say there isn't any strength and wisdom in my true identity, but realizing it shouldn't be defined by what I do.
The truth that I'm realizing is that it became easy for me to throw myself into my career, to throw myself into counseling when other things in my life seemed to be falling apart. Instead of facing the disappointment head on and working through the frustrations I opted to strengthen my ability to help others with their disappointments and frustrations. In fact it wasn't too long ago that I told a friend of mine, "I believe I'm better at being a counselor than at being Cristyn." Talk about a heavy statement! I don't think I realized the truth of it all until I threw that statement out there. I also think I've relished in the praise of others regarding what I do and the statements of "I don't know how you do it, I couldn't do it." I shifted my identity into what I do rather than who I truly am based on accolades and the attention I received from others. I LOVE what I do, don't get me wrong.... but it cannot be who I am.
I've sat in this for a while now and separated myself from my career when I get home at night to begin to define who I truly am. I find rest in this:
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
I also am finding a new peace in what I like to do and the uniqueness of my personality. I'm finding comfort in my randomness, my madd dance skillz :) and the reality that counseling is what I do, and Cristyn is who I am.
My face before dishing out unicorns and rainbows
across the city of Irving
*Resource: "Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook" by June Hunt (2008)