Have you ever noticed how the characters in spy movies are able to seemlessly go from one secret identity to another without missing the accent, name or look that is required to go along with each passport or identification? I know I would be a hopeless spy, yet we all balance a multitude of identities each day.
For example: I am the Campus Minister for Wesley Foundation Merced which serves the campuses at Merced College and UC Merced. I am also mom to my four-year old son and partner to my spouse, Shinya. I am a Rotarian and an advisor for Rotaract. I usually direct a week of children's camp each summer, where the kids call me "Jen" and I try hard to learn all of their names as well.
As I look over this list, I am struck by the temporary nature of all of these identities I have woven for myself. My job is important to me, but I've had atleast 8 other jobs in my life as well. I'll always be Dakota's mom, but children grow up and move away. Choosing "mom" as my main identity will put me at a loss when that happens (just ask your moms).
As much as we like to think of marriage as permanent, even if divorce is avoided, death cannot be. There will be a time when we are parted. Even more importantly, if my relationship with my spouse becomes my core identity I wouldn't have as much to offer to that relationship.
While 6:30 am Rotary meetings are fun and all, I can imagine that this relationship might also be temporary. And the camp season always comes to an end, with the return to the "real world" that inevitably follows.
I touched base with a more permanent identity when I was a junior in high school. It was then that I realized that I was loved by God through Christ. And that became my core identity: one who is loved by God, called by God, sent out by God to love others. As jobs, location, class schedules, human relationships and club memberships change, the image that God has of me remains the same because nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Check out Romans 8:35-39 for more details).
First and foremost, I am God's beloved…. and so are you.