By Lisa Huddleston
“‘But you,’ He asked them, ‘who do you say that I am?’” (Matt. 16:15)
Not long ago, I attended a conference that began with people introducing themselves and telling what they do for a living. Most attendees were in ministry work so they rattled off their titles without really giving it a lot of thought. However, three women in this group were stay-at-home-moms, homemakers, housewives, … well … what do you call us these days? The first woman listed her activities as a homeschool mother and busy church member, and she did a graceful job of making her life sound meaningful (which, of course, it is) while appearing just barely apologetic that she was not in the “work force.” There were many respectable “titles” sitting between us so by the time it was my turn to speak, I was feeling pretty out of place. What could I say that would sound worthwhile? Thinking of nothing to add to the previous homemaker’s list, I decided to go for a joke. Oh boy … wrong! With raised eyebrows and red cheeks, I squeaked, “I guess I’m unemployable. I do a lot of things, but I don’t get paid for any of them!” I expected some laughs, but received painfully quiet stares instead. Ha! It makes me laugh now, but it sure felt awkward then.
Later, I overheard a man telling the third woman who said she was “just a pastor’s wife” that she should never say that. That her job was one of the most important things a woman could do. Oh boy … awkward again. Sort of like telling someone from another ethnic group that you know just how they feel. Impossible … but I know he had the best intentions and again that woman responded very graciously. Thus, I appeared to be the only social klutz in the group. But, hey, every group has one, right? The next day, the three of us talked for a few minutes about how uncomfortable we had felt, and they shared that they wanted to laugh at my lame attempt at humor, but felt stifled by the shocked responses of the rest of the group. I wanted to say, “It’s a Stay-At-Home-Mom thing. You wouldn’t understand.” But figured I’d probably already said enough.
No offense to the director of the conference—who is a great friend and will read this article. I know he doesn’t think any less of me because of my lack of a title. The truth be told, I was probably the only person in the room who thought less of me for that—at least, before I opened my big mouth. I’m sure some of them didn’t know what to think after that. But, it’s not really “what” you do that is the main thing. It’s more important to know “who” you are. I think I could have answered that question a little more comfortably. I am a learner, a writer, a ponderer, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mom, a friend, a music lover, a Christ-follower, a disciple, and on and on the list could go. But I probably would have messed that one up, too, given my distaste (PHOBIA) for speaking in front of a group and my general sense of insecurity.
The problem is that I have to adjust my thinking even a little more here—or maybe a lot more. It’s not “what” I do or even “who” I am that really matters most. What matters is “Who” do I say that Jesus Christ is? If I were more comfortable in my identity as a believer, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to try to beef up my resume to impress other people or to make jokes to distract from my insecurity. As it’s become so popular to say, “It’s all about Him. It’s not about me.”
Hopefully, I will get a chance to redeem myself a little at the next training event I attend with this group. Or better yet, maybe I won’t even feel the need to. But, if I do—and odds are that I will—please, smile at my awkward attempts at humor and remember that I’m still growing into my spiritual skin. Jesus knew that it was hard for us to get ourselves out of the way. That’s probably why He followed his question by telling His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
Thankfully, it’s all about Him!