Coming soon to TodaysChristianWoman.com—a beautiful new design. Get an early look

Jump directly to the content
Guest | Limited Access

Subsciber access onlyarticle preview

Available to TCW subscribers only. or subscribe now.

Who Are You?

Too often we lose ourselves in the midst of our roles. Here's how to find the way back.
Who Are You?

No First PageNo Previous PagePage 1 of 3Next PageLast Page

Lora* sat ramrod straight, knees crossed, her right foot bouncing, as she told me her emotional concerns during our first counseling session.

"I don't understand what's happening to me," this mother of two said. "I wasn't stressed out when my heart started racing. I was just driving, unable to catch my breath."

Her blue eyes watered up and her neck flushed. Lora's symptoms characterize a common mental health problem—a panic disorder. As I listened, Lora confessed her family and her home consumed her time. Even on weekends, her husband orchestrated the family's activities.

"Lora," I said, "tell me what you do in your free time. What activities do you enjoy?"

She flipped her blond hair off her angular shoulders, laughed lightly, and asked, "What free time?"

"The quiet times you take for solitude? Hobbies? Pleasures? Or just plain having fun with a friend?" I pushed.

She didn't answer. Instead, she shifted her feet and smoothed her skirt over her lap.

"Why don't you just describe yourself to me, then," I urged. "Who are you?"

The woman's eyes reddened; her lips tightened. She studied the pattern on my rug. But her silence answered my question with a shout. She didn't know who she was. She'd failed to find—or to keep—her sense of self.

After she shared more information—mostly about her overwhelmed feelings, I offered my thoughts. "I believe your panic attacks stem from your not knowing who you are. You may be feeling this sense of panic, of being out of control, because you've lost yourself." I assured Lora she was similar to other clients who struggle with anxiety and depression. "You've buried yourself in the midst of your multiple roles. Your desire to please others has concealed your sense of Self. You and I need to help you answer this important question, "Who am I?"

Lora faced a problem threatening women today—loss of personal identity. This can cause panic and anxiety, depression and anger. Many factors place demands on us, whether from the workplace, our families, our aging parents, our health, our church, or friends. We're often taught to comply, to agree, to serve without complaint. Yet Jesus wants our lives to be full, fruitful, luscious (John 10:10). To help us and to continue to provide us with the nourishment our souls and identities need, he gives us the Holy Spirit, who in turn reveals to us who God wants us to be and empowers us to bear lasting fruit to his glory (John 15:16).

Regaining Your Lost Self

Often I'm asked, "How can I find my identity?" As women we're so busy giving ourselves away—to our spouses, children, mothers, friends, co-workers, even churches—that we neglect to care for ourselves properly. That's not God's design for us. We are supposed to lose ourselves in Christ—not have our identities sucked away by other people.

article preview

This article is currently available to TCW subscribers only.

To Continue Reading:

Sign up for TCW's free Encouraging Words e-newsletter to start each day with inspiration and encouragement straight from God's Word.
From Issue:
Kyria, 2009, November
Posted November 2, 2009

read these next

for further study

Downloadable resources to go deeper
Your Guide to Sexual Satisfaction

Your Guide to Sexual Satisfaction

God's plan for sex is multidimensional-here's how to move past making pleasure your goal to seek a more intimate connection with your spouse.
(TCWStore.com)
Living Water

Living Water

A three-session Bible study designed to quench your soul thirst and invite others in.
(TCWStore.com)
Practicing Contentment

Practicing Contentment

In our culture, we have more, but seem to enjoy life less. Here are tips on how to foster deep, counter-cultural contentment in your life.
(TCWStore.com)
Sexual Temptation

Sexual Temptation

Desire happens. Here's how to keep a misled God-given desire from ruining our lives.
(TCWStore.com)

Comments

Today's Christian Woman
Who Are You?