Discovering My True Identity



The radio host asked his co-host if she’d been engaged before. She had! And this is the story she told of  why she has a former fiancé instead of a current husband.

Once my fiance and I were walking through the supermarket. He picked up a magazine, flipped it open, and held it out to me. “See this? This is beautiful,” he said, pointing to a picture of a model. “And you’re almost there.”

{cricket, cricket}

You’re probably gasping in horror at this true story. How could he say something like that to her? What a ridiculous standard to hold someone to?

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Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, 0 comments
Winning the Not Enough Game

Winning the Not Enough Game

Do you remember that game your brothers tormented you with when you were little called “Why are you hitting yourself?” Growing up with five brothers, this game was a favorite around my house. Usually it went something like this: Older brother gets a gleam in his eye while younger brother eyes him warily. Older grabs younger’s arm and whacks the poor kid in the head repeatedly, taunting, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” Younger yells, a fight breaks out, furniture’s knocked over . . . . yeah, you remember how it goes. Continue reading →

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why we are so afraid of change

why we are so afraid of change

I met this girl once. She was severely depressed and had been for about 7 years. She’d lived in this story for so long that she couldn’t drum up energy or “want to” to do anything anymore – laundry, dishes, straightening the house, cleaning out clutter, even getting out of bed some days.

A variety of meds hadn’t helped. Changing her routine hadn’t helped. Counselors hadn’t helped. Getting a job hadn’t helped. She was flat-out STUCK!

When God crossed her path with mine, He whispered to me that grace COULD help! She and I chatted several times about how grace changes everything, and while she loved the hope I talked about, she was very skeptical. I understood why! She had tried so. many. things. And none had helped.

God prompted me to offer to help her dig out of the blech, and I was excited about giving her further hope and showing her how grace could change everything in her life. But, she said no.

I’ve often pondered why she refused. Maybe it was because she wasn’t truly desperate enough. Maybe it was because she was afraid of trying one more thing that might not work. Maybe it was because some other story kept her from accepting help. Or maybe, deep down, she was afraid of change.

Change Seems Scary

For most of us, change is scary. New homes, new jobs, new churches, new relationships – they’re all tinged with a certain amount of fear and uncertainty. We get used to our lives, and we’re comfortable here. That may sound crazy if you have a life  you don’t love or things that annoy and frustrate you. But the truth is, we crave familiar and cling to what we know and what we’re used to.

cheery girl with journal

So while most change seems scary, if we’re honest, the change that scares us most is change WITHIN us.

Why IS that?

I’ve come to believe inside change scares us the most because we fear that if we had to change, then something must’ve been wrong with us before. We were somehow messed up or broken or needed fixing, so we HAD to change. And that just doesn’t feel good. Who wants to believe they’re screwed up, much less have to carry around the guilt or the labels?

 Changing the Change Story

But what if all that guilt and being broken and “change is scary” is just another false story?

What if the truth is that we are NOT broken, wrong, or needing to be fixed?
(God tells us, as believers, that we’re not.)

What if change is simply a way to move toward MORE of something good?

What if the changes we make aren’t telling us something about our identity
so much as they’re helping us get what we want?

And what if we could reframe the old story into something
that serves us instead of scares us?

I think with a little story revision in our heads, we can turn change into a lovely thing in our lives. Something we WANT to have around. Something we begin to enjoy. Something we see as growth and healing and happiness. Something that lets us pursue more of what we want. Something that brings us MORE life!

That’s a story we’d be happier to live most any day, I bet.

change is good - gracethread Pin

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 0 comments
how to make a bunch of women really mad

how to make a bunch of women really mad

So I’m surfing Pinterest the other day, and up pops this pin called “6 things your wife is always thinking about.”

“Okay, I’ll bite,” I thought, “I’m curious what they think we wives think about all day long.”

It was a pretty harmless post about how a wife is often thinking what to cook for dinner, if the kids are okay, how she looks, or how to keep her man happy. Nothing too earth shattering.

When I scrolled down to the comments, though, my mouth dropped open. Of the 50 there, most of the people were highly offended and railing on the blogger.

You had the irate:

  • sounds like what every woman is assumed to think back in the 1950s
  • This list is antiquated
  • you’re putting wives into a box

Then the snarky,

  • Yes, because all women are exactly the same, and men are never allowed to think about these things

Plus a couple of nods (barely):

  • Love it
    what a beautiful blog

Still in Shock

I gaped at the overwhelmingly negative response and wondered, “Why do people feel so strongly about this post?” Seriously, in the broad scheme of life a blog post isn’t really that big a deal. It’s not like your dog was just murdered or something. Blogs are just one person’s opinion about the way the world works. Why get so up in arms about it?

Then it hit me that we all see life through certain lenses, and when those lenses are challenged or misunderstood, we feel threatened. Maybe that’s what happened to the poor commenters?

hammer and eggSo, I re-read a few comments and looked for clues about lenses. I saw hints of things like a need to be heard, a need to be right, a need to feel a part of something, and even a deep need to be accepted and not judged.

The whole thing reminded me that when someone reacts, it has nothing to do with what was written or said and everything to do with how she views the world.

Have you ever had someone overreact or thrash you,
and you couldn’t figure out why?
Have you ever done that to someone yourself?

I can answer “yes” to both of those questions.

Staying Calm for Good

Wouldn’t it be great to be free from all that? To stop caring what people think of you? To never be threatened by what somebody says? To stop worrying if you’re coming across okay?

You can. Because of grace.

All it takes is knowing your true identity and believing that what God thinks of you matters most. Then, the fear of man starts to melt away. Sure, it’s simpler to say than to actually do, but it really works. I know because I see it in action – in my own life (slowly but surely) and in other women too. It’s rare and pretty fascinating too!

One Last Thought

So, here’s my wish for you.

I wish for 2016 to be your year of freedom.
May you grow in grace and the
knowledge of who you truly are to God.
And may that free you from what
people think forever!

And along the way, may you laugh often, kinda like I did at my favorite replies from the makes-‘em-all-mad post.

And your why the divorce rate is so high now a days!!!

E.B., Graduate Research Assistant at Portland State University

(Kudos! I think the grad degree is working.)

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, 0 comments
carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

I have a not-so-secret obsession.  I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t. I am compelled to collect words — especially quotations. There’s just something about stumbling over a thoughtful phrase that perfectly describes something I know to be true (and could never say as prettily) that thrills my little heart!

Here’s a recent favorite:

I complained about this recently to a friend,
this disconnect between who we are and how
others perceive us. I said: “The trouble is,
I’m a fish, but everyone thinks I’m a rabbit.”

The friend just looked me in the eye and said:
“Then why do you surround yourself with people
who can only give you carrots?”

(from I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black)

Rabbit or Fish Moment

I had a carrot vs. kelp moment not too long ago. It was a wintry Tuesday night, and I was sitting in a metal chair in a drafty basement, surrounded by a crowd of women.

It was a community choir rehearsal, and our regular director was out of town on a much-needed vacation. So, a visiting conductor was leading. You only had to listen to him for a minute to tell this was a jolly man who knew music well, longed for us to love it like he did, and aimed to create “community” as well as “choir” with his rehearsals.

Before warm-ups he had the idea that we should introduce ourselves and share the last piece of music we’d listened to.

I was seated about two-thirds of the way through the group, and as the introductions began, the entire room turned into a Reality TV Voting System. When one person announced her music choice, some voices would agree, others would titter or comment, and the collective ooh’s and aah’s rose and fell based on how “acceptable” the piece was.

My cheeks grew warm, and I fidgeted as I waited for my turn because:

  1. I hate “judge” situations and try to avoid them as much as possible.
  2. My every day allows for little music listening, and I was having a hard time remembering the last piece I’d heard.

My turn came, and after I said my name, I blurted out “Pandora” (partly because it was the truth, and partly because I felt a little bit rebellious). The room grew quiet, and the director blinked at me blankly for a few seconds before nodding pseudo-enthusiastically and moving on.

Changing the Lenses

When I think of this silly, small event, I’m drawn back to the carrot quotation. In that moment, sitting in the metal folding chair, it dawned on me that many of the people in that room saw life a certain way – through a Music-Is-Ultra-Important lens. And while I used to wear those glasses too (like when I was taking 15 years of piano lessons, winning state competitions, earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, doing music ministry in church every Sunday, singing in traveling groups, soloing in a women’s ensemble), I’ve taken them off.

I value other things now. Not because I suddenly hate music or anything — just because I know myself better today. Now I know more things I truly love, know who I am, know clearly what I’m created and called to do.

horse and carrotDo you ever feel like the people around you just don’t get you? That maybe
you view life from a far different vantage point than they do?
Are you ever confused about why people keep handing
you carrots when you’re a radiant angel fish?

You should never have to convince yourself you love orange with stripes when turquoise with bubbles is more your style. No one deserves to be force fed. That’s why knowing who you are and what you want are so important.

You are marvelously, intricately created by the Greatest Designer in the world who’s never made a mistake on any of His works of art. Maybe it’s time to swim out to sea a little? Find a new circle or two? Or perhaps take some time to sit and ponder what you really love and who you truly are.

That’s one of the first steps of living a true adventure story – discovering who you are then surrounding yourself with people who support you in being the best you possible.

(Psst… pass the kelp, please.)

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 0 comments