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Four Things You Are Not, and One Thing You Are (How to Define Yourself)


It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m standing before an overcrowded room of sleepy moms at nap time. Before I launch into my speech outline, I give them permission to fall asleep, on the condition they don’t judge me if I slump over the podium in a mid-speech slumber.

A conference for moms–that paradox of exhaustion and elation over knowing we’re not alone.  

Here is the outline I used for “The Early Years” workshop. I am still in awe at the response, and how God used feeble words to feed hungry souls.

Four Things I am Not, and One Thing I Am

1. I am not my past

I am not defined by how I was parented or what was said or done to me growing up.

2.  I am not an online persona.  

Instagrams, Tweets and Facebook posts are a potential danger that cause us to compare ourselves with others and think deadly thoughts, like “What is wrong with me that I can’t do and be all that?” We don't think about the parts we don’t see in those super-personas: exhaustion, burn-out, stress-induced illness and an endless list of reasons you may not want to be that person everyone else admires.

3. I am not my work.

Whether I’m climbing the corporate ladder or bunk-bed ladder, I am not defined by my accomplishments. We have bought the lie that says we are only as good as how much we can get done–on a daily basis, and on the grand scale. Life is about relationship, not achievement.

4. I am not my behavior.

I don’t love my child based on her behavior; I love her because she is mine. Is our Heavenly Father any different? Thankfully He doesn’t have to walk away and count to ten when I blow it with my kids.  He loves me because I am His.

5. I am a well-loved daughter (son) of the King of the universe.

When I fully internalize this, I will start behaving as such. Behavior springs from identity. As a Christian, I am a new person because of my identity with Christ's resurrection. This is the gospel. This is what is making me the mom I need to be.

For more on Christian identity, read my book.

(Top image credit:


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