After putting her children to bed, a mother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse, took off her makeup, and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. At last she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard her three-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was that?”
I wonder the same thing about myself! Between dress-up evenings, afternoon runs to the grocery store in sweats, and stay-in-my-pajamas-and-work mornings, I stay in wardrobe confusion. From changing diapers to exchanging business cards to rearranging furniture, the tasks that we perform during the day are no help in determining who we are. We can do anything, but that doesn’t mean we want it to define us. Bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan, changing a flat on the way home, starting to feel like I’m a man! But I’m a wooooman. No wonder we are confused about who we are . . . .
Who am I? Have you ever lain awake at night asking this question? I take that back. Most women work too hard to miss sleep by lying awake at night, much less asking questions! So the questions probably come at other times. Who am I? Do you ever feel that you’re faking your life? That you’re living someone else’s life, and you’re not sure whose? You wonder how you got to this place of disguise. You want to give yourself to God, but what self are you going to give?
Your work life? What you do doesn’t determine who you are. Your beauty? What you wear or the hairstyle you sport, or how much makeup you have on isn’t necessarily the “real you.” Your relationships? All your roles as wife, mother, and friend are not the sum total of your identity. So what do we give and who are we?
The answer is (D), all of the above.
We are like onions. We can’t merely peel away all the layers, because they are us, as long as they are true to the core. You don’t get to the middle of an onion and find an apple core. The onion begins at the core, and each and every layer builds upon the “onion-ness” inside. An authentic life and self is one in which the layers on the outside are merely expressions of the core on the inside.
Excerpted from Laughter is the Spice of Life © 2004 by Thomas Nelson. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
At 2011 Imagine events, long-time Women of Faith dramatist Nicole Johnson is stepping out of “character” and into her real life, telling her own story for the first time on the Women of Faith stage. Find an event near you.