Un-Stuffing My Identity

packed car

“It’s just stuff, Kacy. Calm down.”

Sunday was the day; the day that I had too much coffee around noon, got over ambitious, & began packing away my life, box by box, and donation bag by donation bag.

I’ve known that the day was coming… That dreaded day when I would eventually have to sort out my necessities (which will be moving with me this summer), my clutter (which has been bagged for Goodwill), and well, the rest of my life (which is being boxed & thrown into storage until my move to Texas, eight-ish months from now).

All of this separating, boxing, and bagging has made me realize something about myself:

I’m an incredibly sentimental person.

The moments that I cherish the most are those that I spend with the people I love, and I love having things around me to remind me of those moments or the times when God has shown up in my life.

My apartment is full of such items: the mural I painted on my wall, the photos of family and friends that hang in my kitchen, my grandfather’s typewriter, my great-grandmother’s Bible, my favorite books, and my journals full of stories…my stories…

I cherish all of these things, not even because of their earthly value, but because of the ties that they have to my little sentimental heart.

And as I boxed them up and stared at the empty space on my shelves and walls last weekend, a part of me began to panic.

This is seriously happening. I am giving up everything that makes me comfortable and walking into the unknown.

My heart jumped into my throat and I wanted to rip the packing tape off of my boxes and replace everything back into its proper home.

I realized that I have grown attached to my stuff and not just in a cute, sentimental way, but in a way that has led me cherish my stuff and my memories over my King.

In my apartment, surrounded by my properly placed stuff, I know who I am.

Actually, no, that’s not true either. In my apartment surrounded by my properly placed stuff, I am comfortable with who I have become. And because of this I am not actively trying to be the woman who God has created or called me to be.

In my stuff-y comfort zone, I am not being courageous for the Kingdom, I am not being a steward of what He has given me for His glory, and I most certainly am not declaring, “I am a daughter of the King and I long to know nothing except Christ crucified”.

No. Instead, I have been sitting here in my comfort zone being a wimp  a wimpy hoarder of blessings   a wimpy hoarder of blessings who would rather set her identity in the earthly junk around her instead of within her Heavenly Father and His call upon her life.

Do I really want my identity to come from the world?

No.

Do I want to be reminded of my identity by all of the stuff in my life?

Yes… I mean no.

Do I love my stuff more than God?

No… Yes…. I mean, no. Definitely not.

This whole experience of giving up the cute life I have worked so hard to build for myself and follow God into the unknown simply reconfirms everything that I already knew about myself; I’m a mess.

A stuff-y mess.

But gosh darn it, by the end of this month I will be a less stuff-y mess. In fact, I will be a less stuff-y, homeless, nomadic mess…

Eeesh, things I can’t think about right now. One step at a time…

For now, I am simply working on not panicking every time I seal a box or take a load of my stuff to storage.

What is God calling you to leave behind today?

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

(Matthew 16:26)

 

Tell me once again…

I am many things.

I’m a daughter, a student, a teacher, a friend, a sister, an auntie, a niece, and a cousin— just to name a few of the many positions that I fulfill in life.

This summer, I have had the privilege of bouncing back and forth between Colorado and California, focusing on the last two “jobs” on that list as I act as a live-in nanny for my aunt’s two-year old daughter Monica.

Staying out in the Bay Area again has been great. I’ve met new people, seen old friends from Berkeley, and have had amazing home cooked Mexican food and fresh fish for almost every meal. But most importantly, I’ve gotten to build a new layer into my relationship with my aunt.

Being the only two girls on my dad’s side of my family for nearly two decades, my aunt and I have always been very close. In fact, when I was a little kid, I essentially wanted to be my Aunt Vee when I “grew up”.

She has influenced every decision in my life from wanting to be a cheerleader in high school to where I applied for college to what NFL team I cheer for. (Raider Nation, baby! Sorry… couldn’t resist.)

When we’re together, my aunt and I always have a great time. But no matter how much I love my second home with her and her little family, I can’t help but feel a bit stressed out here.

You see, in Colorado I know exactly who I am. I have a routine. I have my job and friends. I even have a regular coffee shop where the owner knows exactly how I like my coffee (and occasionally my breakfast) made.

In Colorado, I’m someone’s teacher, someone’s intellectual equal, someone’s best friend.

But here, I’m just “Vee’s niece. You know, the tall one that used to have a cute Latina afro and little pink boots when she was three…”

Here I’m the bridge between two generations; not an adult in the eyes of my family, but certainly over qualified (and far too tall) to be considered a child by anyone’s standards.

I’m living in a weird flux state where I can’t quite figure out my identity in this new place. I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but I do know that this situation makes me want to get on the first plane and go back home to Colorado.

I know that retreating back to my comfort zone won’t do me any favors. I know that my identity is in (or should be in) my Heavenly Father, and not rooted in who I say I am or who my family views me as.

I know all of this, but I still have identity vertigo.

I’m well aware that I’m not the first, or only twenty-something-year-old to feel this way. But I want a definite answer about who I am, in every situation, not just at home. I want to take the control away from God and say “Look Buddy, I’m getting whiplash here. Just give me an answer before I lose my mind!”

And there in lies my problem. I am trying to discover who I am on my own… and in that process I am removing God. The same God who is the one true root of my identity; The one who knows me better than anyone, including my aunt or even my closest friends.

In the middle of my panic and vertigo, I am reminded…

I’m the one You love, that will be enough.”

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

~Isaiah 43:1