Back when I worked in an office (circa 2003/2004) I was "just" an office supervisor. Then I was "just" an advertising salesperson at a local paper. Next, I was "just" a photography salesperson moonlighting as a wedding photographer ... Followed by "just" a wedding photographer. I wasn't trying to be humble; I rarely felt at ease telling people what I did for a living.
The problem with dis-ease about our titles or roles is it often covers carried shame about how we spend our life's time. And, in this case, shame indicates perhaps a bad fit more than something shameful. For some of you one of my former jobs may be your dream job. It's a giant matter of perspective.
Yesterday when my husband, a friend, and I went to view a potential property for living in community I played the scenario of introducing ourselves to the rental agent in my mind.
"Hi, I'm Christine. I'm an artist. This is my husband, an entrepreneur. And our friend Ferdinand*, a ship captain and missionary."
And I was amazed how true those roles are for each of us in literal and metaphorical ways. Later I remembered one of the first times I was named by someone I'm not blood related to. He said I was a seeker of God, one who desires to know him. Later I was called a truth teller. Then another person named me avant garde, and patient teacher. And most recently I was given the name artist. These people see me. They observe a true thing about me and say it back. It's lovely, healing, and shame breaking.
These names are but reflections of my identity. None of them alone holds the whole truth of me (just as for my husband and friend). The whole truth of me is summed up in: Christine, beloved of Jesus. However, these reflections from my loved ones say something true of me.
So I wonder, when I used to say "just" XYZ and let shame rule me, was I insecure about the names I chose for myself - knowing they weren't true fits to who I am and how I've been created. Like having a tailor fit you, nothing feels better than a well made garment created for you alone. Because my experience with these friends giving voice to my heart's cry feels better than anything I've ever created or made for myself.
*Name changed to protect the sea worthy.
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