ACW

ACW

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What... or Who? by Mandy Baker Johnson

We had perfect weather for the recent ACW weekend at Scargill House with Adrian and Bridget Plass. I loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

I was struck by the changes I saw in myself. It was my third weekend at Scargill and this one was definitely different.

The first couple of times, I determinedly told myself: 'I'm a writer, I'm a writer.' Writing magazines and blogs urge writers and budding writers  to proudly proclaim what they are.

But for me, it meant sitting in the sessions weighing up my fellow writers. If they were already published, they were out of my league. If not yet published, were they as good as me? Were they better? When individuals stood to read their piece, my spirits plummeted if it was brilliant. If it, shall we say needed a little polishing, I judged it accordingly and sat smugly in my place knowing I could do so much better. Yet I never had the courage to share what I'd written. Because what if it wasn't as amazing as I thought it was? I was a writer after all.

It all added up to being a stressful weekend that caused me to come away feeling insecure about myself and my abilities and wondering what the heck I thought I was doing trying to write in the first place. (Thankfully, this time was different and I enjoyed chatting with people and hearing their work without feeling threatened or jealous.)

The problem with tying what you do to who you are is that things get skewed. I do write but it's not solely who I am. I'm also a medical secretary, but that still doesn't give the full picture of me.

If what I do equals who I am, I'm screwed when I can't do any more. A few years ago, I fell ill. I lost my job and my ministry. Memories disappeared and some days I was too weak to hold a pen, never mind write. Because my identity had always come out of what I did and I could no longer do, I had no idea who I was. It was a scary time.

Thankfully God healed me and restored everything I had lost through that time. He also showed me that what I do doesn't equal who I am. Who I am is that I am His child. That had never seemed important before, but the more I've pondered this truth the more I value it. I am a child of God and everything else comes out of that. This is who I really am and it'll never stop being true.

One morning this summer at sunrise, the Holy Spirit gave me the briefest glimpse of who I am and will be. One day, I'm going to shine like the sun in my Daddy's Kingdom. This is who He has made me to be! WOOOO HOOOO!!!

When I get to heaven, I doubt I'll be swanning around saying to the saints and angels: 'I'm a writer,' or 'I'm a church planter'. That's what I did. What I will glory in is that I'm a child of the Most High God, that the Creator of the universe is friends with me, and that the cosmic Christ died to bring me into His family.



Mandy Baker Johnson is a self-employed medical secretary who enjoys blogging and is working on an autobiographical book about deliverance from darkness and being healed from cerebellar ataxia and ME/chronic fatigue. She is developing a heart for the poor and enjoys volunteering with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry.

11 comments:

  1. This is a great post Mandy and such an encouragement in today's world driven by a culture that sees value only in what we do :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tan! It reminds me of the words of a worship song 'You've raised me up so high above my station'. Daddy God is the best.

      Delete
  2. Encouraging post. We place our identities far too much into what we do, and perhaps even more so as writers because our writing is so much an extension of who we are and so personal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know Fran, so true. And it's so freeing when we don't tie up our identity in what we do.

      Delete
  3. What a fabulous piece. It really spoke to me this morning. Thanks for being so honest and for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw I'm so glad you were blessed by it Wendy x

      Delete
  4. Brilliant - love this. Such an important thing to keep reminding ourselves... thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. It was indeed a very special Scargill ...that we are what we 'do' is a very horrible lie, and it can begin to oppress us at a very young age. Good to hear you've got out from under it, and reminding us all to send the thought scurrying away every time it tires to accuse us. It's all there in the party-intro-line, "So what do you do?" as if we're machines!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Clare! It was great to chat with you (several times!) over coffee at Scargill. Looking forward to the next time x

      Delete
  6. An inspiring and needful word, Mandy! I think most of us confuse our who with our do, and I can relate to losing my identity as a nurse to assume the unwanted one of chronically sick person with M.E. But as you remind us so beautifully here, we are Abba's precious children first and foremost and that's something worth celebrating from now to eternity! Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete