I Am Still Not My Title

Recently I celebrated my 3-year anniversary at my full-time, big kid job. It’s been a good fit–I like most of what I do most of the time, which I think is probably pretty typical. There are days when I’m completely energized and would confidently answer yes, I love my job, and there are other days that are frustrating and make me want to walk out the door.

3241830781_1b93440029_b

Photo Credit: Flickr User jeffwilcox, Creative Commons

Not long after I started my job, I wrote about not wanting to become my title. It’s an easy thing to do, and I get the sense that it’s even more prevalent in the United States than in other places. Recently I met some new people and internally kicked myself when one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “So what do you do?” Some people do define themselves by their job, but I think we can do so much better than that. At least I want to.

My job is a thing that I do. Yes, it takes up a good chunk of my waking hours during the week, occasionally spills over into nights and weekends or sends me across the country, but I hope it’s not the most interesting thing about me–even though it is often the first and easiest thing to talk about in certain settings. There’s a reason I don’t write specifically about what I do in this space or mention it on certain forms of social media; as much as I like what I do, it does not define me. And I hope that never changes. As I wrote several years ago:

I want to approach it as a shirt, one I wear proudly and well when the time is right, but not as skin. This job, this title, any job, any title, does not define who I am as a being.

It’s good to be passionate about our work, and I feel fortunate to have a job that aligns well with areas I’m gifted in and even with my beliefs. I’m also aware that I likely won’t have this job forever, either because I choose to move somewhere else or because of changes at my workplace. If or when that happens, it will be a major adjustment and I will probably go through some mourning, but I don’t want to feel like I’m leaving behind a piece of my identity as well as leaving behind a job.

For the past three years, I feel like I’ve done pretty well with not letting my job define me. It’s not always easy though. There are times when it’s nice to have a job to help give me a certain level of status, but I always feel a little icky when I think that way–it’s a societal norm to assign ourselves worth and value because of our jobs, but I don’t want to be that way. And when I do it to myself, it’s far too easy to do it to other people as well, either for good or for bad.

The next time I meet new people, I want to do better than asking “So what do you do?” I’m not sure what that looks like though. If you have any great ideas of how to start conversations without asking about what people do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. What questions do you ask people when you first meet them?

Advertisements

Growing Up is (Still) Hard to Do

For a while now, I’ve been thinking of making some changes to this blog. “Musings of a Recent College Graduate” seems less fitting now, considering I graduated over two years ago.

And yet, whenever I try to think of a new name for this grouping of writings, nothing jumps out at me. I am still getting used to this phase of life not having a set ending, of not being able to section it off nicely with an end and a beginning. Before, it was always beginning of a grade, end of a grade, on to the next level of school, and so on.

Here, it is an ever-stretching land, with no concrete beginnings or endings I can clearly see, called Adult.

I still don’t even know for sure what the word “adult” means.

I think it’s how I’m supposed to describe myself now, but when I try it on, it still doesn’t seem to fit quite right. The sleeves are a little long, the shoulders a little too boxy, and the hem hangs a little crooked.

And there’s something about “Musings of an Adult” that just doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

Two years ago almost to the day, I wrote about having an Identity Trial.

Graduating from college and attempting to enter “the big kid world” has brought about significant changes in many aspects of my life (some of which I mentioned here). I’ve lost my familiar rhythms of life, the frustrations and joys of schoolwork, and perhaps one I’m struggling with the most, the label of “college student.” So although for most of my life I had a fairly strong sense of who I am, right now my identity is…a bit in flux. Not quite an identity crisis.

An identity trial, if you will.

At my core I still know who I am; my belief in God is firmly intact, and I have a sense that I would like to do something with my life that is bigger than me, but not FOR me. I still know my likes and dislikes, things I am good at and not good at, things that make me laugh and those that make me cringe.

Though my circumstances have changed—I’ve been at my “big kid” job for a year and a half and out of my parents’ house for over a year—a surprising amount of those words still feel true. When I look back at old pictures or am reminded of college in other ways, it still feels so recent, so important, and still not something I’m entirely ready to completely let go of. There’s still so much I’m trying to figure out about how to be an adult well, about how to find and create meaning and goodness in whatever stage of life I’m in.

And a still a blog name that no longer seems to fit, but that I can’t quite bring myself to replace just yet.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. What’s hardest for you about growing up?

When Identity in Christ Isn’t Good Enough

“Find your identity in Christ” is a phrase Christians like to use. It can get tossed around as though it’s an absolute answer to any sort of question about who I am, what I should be doing, how I should live in the messy bits of everyday experience.

It’s not an untrue phrase-it IS important for Christians to have their identity rooted in Christ.

But I really don’t think that’s all there is to it.

A few weeks ago I was at a Christian leadership conference, and one of the speakers talked about identity—specifically, he talked about the gap between being seated in the heavenlies and how to live that out. He talked about the completion process of an identity being a journey, an experience.

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

Finding your identity in Christ should be the starting point, but it’s not the end of an identity. My identity is not something I necessarily have to know in full right now, or possibly even have in full right now. It’s in process. Becoming.

“Finding your identity in Christ” is a good heart and head phrase, but it’s not very much of a hands phrase. How the particulars of being in Christ play themselves out in all the other pieces of who Brianna is are still being worked out. There are pieces I’m fairly certain of, tendencies and talents that have become quite apparent already, but I am fully aware of how few years I have lived and how much life there likely is before me. Some of those tendencies and talents will continue to show through, grow and develop, while others may fade or new ones come forward. And all of them, in ways, become part of my identity, at least for a time.

I hope and pray that through it all my identity remains grounded in Christ. But that’s a beginning, not an end. It’s a reminder of where every piece of who I am and what I do must begin, and is the common vein that runs through all of it–but it doesn’t solve the question of identity once and for all.

The only way to find the answer of who I am is to live it.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. What does finding your identity look like for you?

Becoming

I’ve written bits and pieces of many posts over the last week or so, yet none of them have made them here. Some came close, and may appear in the future, but didn’t feel right for right now.

As I’ve been thinking over these posts, I continually found myself thinking in, “What if I…” statements. What if I thought this? What if I did that? What if I went there?

At their core, many of the statements that came to mind had to do with what kind of a person I am. Or, more accurately, what type of person I’m becoming.

Becoming. There’s something hopeful about the word, like a promise of what will be, is going to be, but isn’t quite yet. Glimmers may be there, but not the whole.

It applies so well to people, and feels to especially fit me right now. No human being is ever fully complete while they’re still alive, of course, but I feel like my life could still snake off in so many different directions. So many different pieces could go so many different ways, and even though some of them seem to be solidifying right now, the truth is that they’re still quite fluid.

Sometimes I run the risk of getting too caught up in the particulars, the nitty gritty, the teeny tiny details. They certainly add up and play in a part in who I am becoming, but it’s not an equation of what I did here and said there equals who I will be five years from now. There are so many parts of who I am and who I will be, with so many variables that are unknowable right now.

And I think that’s why none of the posts I tried to write worked–they tried to capture who I am, when really, I don’t entirely know.

I’m beginning to wonder if knowing who I am isn’t so much the point, but instead, appreciating the process of becoming.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. What type of person are you becoming?

The Post I Shouldn’t Write

This post is an honest cop out.

It shouldn’t even be here.

I had a post in mind for today…but I’m not going to be able to make it work like it needs to, not in my current frazzled, weary state of mind.

Instead, I’ll refer you to two other posts of mine–because if I were to write for real tonight, it would end up sounding like a mash-up of the two anyway. Normally, I’d just not post anything, but my slight stubborn side refuses to let this day pass without posting. I signed on for writing through 31 Amazing Days, and I will not back down now. So here we are.

It’s not as though my day was horrible–it wasn’t. My brain just feels too full, muddled, and weighted to be able to make words do what I’d like them to. I think it’s a mark of a good writer to be able to write outside of your emotions, and many bloggers can…I admire them, even envy them that. Because today, I can’t. So instead…

 

A post from August, entitled “Identity Trial” (click the title to read the full post).

Graduating from college and attempting to enter “the big kid world” has brought about significant changes in many aspects of my life (some of which I mentioned here). I’ve lost my familiar rhythms of life, the frustrations and joys of schoolwork, and perhaps one I’m struggling with the most, the label of “college student.” So although for most of my life I had a fairly strong sense of who I am, right now my identity is…a bit in flux. Not quite an identity crisis.

An identity trial, if you will.

At my core I still know who I am; my belief in God is firmly intact, and I have a sense that I would like to do something with my life that is bigger than me, but not FOR me. I still know my likes and dislikes, things I am good at and not good at, things that make me laugh and those that make me cringe.

But that might be about where my list ends. For the time being, I am learning who I am outside of the classroom walls I spent so much time in. I am learning that though I am not enrolled at a particular school, I can still be a student—just in different ways. I am learning that I still have much to learn about just about everything.

And from just about a month ago, “Inadequate” (click to read the full post).

A few months ago my pastor asked me to consider being a part of my church’s leadership team. I was hesitant; for many reasons, but perhaps the main one being I felt like I wasn’t capable of it. My pastor told me I would be the youngest person on the team, which didn’t come as much of a surprise–most people in similar positions in the church I grew up in were in their thirties or older. As a fairly recent church plant, we do things a bit differently, but still…I felt much too young, far too inexperienced, and woefully inadequate for such a task…

Maybe that’s the way all our stories go. “I wasn’t equipped; God equipped me.” Even though it may not feel that way at the time we begin, or in the middle, or maybe even at the end.

But if I have learned anything from Bible stories, my own story, and the stories of those around me, it is that God uses broken people. People who feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and like there is no possible way they could ever do what God has asked them to.

 

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

Identity Trial

This post is a part of something bigger—a collection of posts, written by young people, simply sharing what we have to say. We are young (but we have words). 

 

Ask five twenty-two year olds what they’re doing, and you will likely get five different answers. From grad school to weddings, apartments to travels abroad, full-time jobs with benefits to babies, coffee shops to parents’ homes. A lot of these involve mild to massive amounts of change…which I don’t tend to be very good at handling.

Graduating from college and attempting to enter “the big kid world” has brought about significant changes in many aspects of my life (some of which I mentioned here). I’ve lost my familiar rhythms of life, the frustrations and joys of schoolwork, and perhaps one I’m struggling with the most, the label of “college student.” So although for most of my life I had a fairly strong sense of who I am, right now my identity is…a bit in flux. Not quite an identity crisis.

An identity trial, if you will.

At my core I still know who I am; my belief in God is firmly intact, and I have a sense that I would like to do something with my life that is bigger than me, but not FOR me. I still know my likes and dislikes, things I am good at and not good at, things that make me laugh and those that make me cringe.

But that might be about where my list ends. For the time being, I am learning who I am outside of the classroom walls I spent so much time in. I am learning that though I am not enrolled at a particular school, I can still be a student—just in different ways. I am learning that I still have much to learn about just about everything.

It’s an intimidating, uncertain process. I never expected to feel quite THIS out of sorts after I graduated; I knew it would be a change, but I didn’t realize how deeply it would affect me. I wasn’t even aware of how comfortable I had become in the label of “student,” and how disconcerting it would be to shed it.

The type of learning I am doing now is much more frustrating. There are no tests to study for, but that is because there are rarely cut and dried right and wrong answers. There are no long weekends or snow days in the school of real life, no labeled teachers in front of the classroom.

So for the next who-knows-how-long (probably forever, really) I am unsure. Intimidated. Tentative. Overwhelmed. And learning.

I may be having an identity trial, but I am not done.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~