Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who Am I - When Migraine Challenges My Own Identity

Who am I?  I have really been struggling with this for the last several months.  Having chronic migraines has "deleted" some of the definition I enjoyed, and I am having trouble filling the void with new definitions.  Prior to this, it was an easy question.

- I was a respected mental health therapist and professor.
        And now I am not.

- I was a person who loved laughter and being around people.
        And now it is difficult to do so.

- I was a person who prided myself on being reliable and committed.
        And now, I frequently can't be relied upon.

- I was an independent woman.
        And now, I rely on others for transportation and for financial support, among other things.

- I was a deeply involved family member who loved to be there for my family in fun times and in difficult times.
        And now, I'm generally not involved. I've missed so many special occasions and haven't been there at times when people needed me or when I wanted to be there.

- I was a loyal friend who loved being able to do things for others.
        And now, I am always the recipient.

- I was an active and involved person who enjoyed being with others.
       And now, I am frequently lonely.

- My days had purpose and meaning.  I felt like I contributed something to the world through my work, through my friendships, through my activities.
        And now, I often grapple with the question of what my purpose is.

As I think about this, I think having chronic migraines may be helping me to learn that I found my identity in the wrong things - not that the things that defined me were bad - they just weren't all there is.  The very fact that I live and breathe and exist today has to count for something - there has to be some reason for my existence.  

When I stop and really think about it, I hear the Lord telling me that my identity is in being His beloved daughter; that my purpose is to glorify Him; that my goal is to shine a light in the darkness.  

I once heard someone say that God created us as human beings not human doers.  Being is hard.  Being content while just being is even harder.  The world tells us that we are someone because of what we do - our job, our involvement with friends and family, our independence, our achievements, and our activities.  When those things are taken away for whatever reason, we are left with the question of "who are we really?"  Is being me enough? Can I find purpose in life in just being who I am once all the activities and accolades are stripped away?

I'm not sure what the answer is to that question if I rely on my feelings.  So instead, I have to remind myself over and over again of the truth that is constantly being whispered to me - "You are mine, Beloved.  I hold your future and your past.  You are beautifully and wonderfully made, and I rejoice in you because of who you are and not because of what you do."

So my goal is to listen to the words of truth more and to my feelings less  (without disregarding my feelings)- to let the truth define me even when I am feeling lost - to take that question of who I am to my Creator and to try to stop basing my beliefs about myself upon what I do.  This is not going to be an easy or quick task.  It is going to have to be purposeful.  The one thing I do know, however, is that life is a process.  I am always learning.  I am always growing.  I am always changing.  AND it will be for good, to give me a future and a hope.


  1. You are a Beautiful gifted writer, God has blessed you with the gift to share your thoughts,praise, prayers,and even your dreams. You will touch many lives through your writing.
    "Your talent is Gods gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God"

  2. Lorrie, thank you so much for your sweet note. I am so grateful that the Lord blessed you through what He motivated me to write!

  3. Cyndi thank you so much. This reflects so many feelings and emotions I'm having. I'm losing my job, my sister just moved to Seattle (with my 3 beautiful nieces), I'm in lots of pain everyday, and I've gained back most of the weight I lost 3-4 years ago. Just think week I thought.... who am I? This isn't who I am. This isn't how things were supposed to happen. It's so hard adjusting to those thoughts. Then I realized that you had a blog post about this (I hadn't read all of it), and it was such an encouragement to come read this. I am learning more to not compare myself to the standards of this world. I thank you for helping me do that and for being a beautiful person.