Who am I, really? Years ago, God told me the answer: “You are My Beloved Daughter, my light in the darkness.” I loved that – especially the light part. I was ready to shine bright, to make a difference, to advance the Kingdom!
On every personality test I take, I come out as a high performer, a do-er, and an activist. I’m an Enneagram 3 Achiever, high on futuristic and strategic on Strengths Finder, and a Completer-Finisher on Myers-Briggs. I derive so much of my identity, my value, and my worth from doing. I see myself as worthy if I have made good use of my talents and brought a good return, like in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25). I love the word impact. Making an impact on the world for Jesus is what I am all about. I am His light in the darkness.
But what if my impact looks different this season? What if it is small and seemingly insignificant, at least in my own eyes? What if it looks like being present for a friend, being intentional with my 5-year-old son, being obedient to talk to my neighbour, or just making it through a hard day? What if Jesus is calling me to focus on being instead of doing, and to find my identity more in being His Beloved Daughter, rather than just finding my identity in my so-called successes and achievements?
As I navigate life as a working mom, leading a national office of a missions organization with my husband, this is an ongoing source of tension. I loved life on the front lines of the mission field, sharing Jesus with refugees and discipling brand-new believers. I loved the excitement and challenge and risk! But here in Kansas City, my impact feels less obvious, often second or third-hand. Rather than celebrating a victory I got to see myself, I am often celebrating the victories of those I coach, encourage, and support. And that is not always easy. I wonder if my talents are bearing good dividends? It can be hard to quantify.
And in this tension, the enemy attacks. I struggle with his accusations of uselessness and shame. It could be easy to succumb. The enemy loves to capitalize on our weaknesses.
But then I am reminded that I am His Beloved Daughter! And that identity won’t change, no matter what I accomplish or don’t.
But then I am reminded that I am His Beloved Daughter! And that identity won’t change, no matter what I accomplish or don’t. And so I am shifting my focus from the Parable of the Talents to the story of the Prodigal (Luke 15). I find that when I get caught up in my own self-shaming and discouragement, I must come to my senses and run back to the Father. It doesn’t matter my role – whether I’m a front-line worker or a behind-the-scenes servant – my identity is in who I am as His Beloved Daughter. And only when I am secure in that can my light really shine in the darkness. Because in order to shine I must be connected to my Source.
Meredith Johnson is a beloved daughter of the Father, the wife of Joshua and the mom of Luke. She loves cooking, hiking, reading, travelling, and befriending Muslim-background people. She started intentionally loving Muslims in 2005. She serves as the co-Hub Leader at All Nations Kansas City.