Purposeful Faith

The Danger in Letting Others Define Who We Are

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Don’t ever say you’re just a mom.”

I spun around, startled at the realization that my conversation wasn’t private. I was talking to the cashier at a local toy store about school and pursuing a career in writing. Both my boys were tiny at the time, and before I knew it the statement that I was “just a mom” spilled out of my mouth.

It wasn’t that I didn’t think mothering was important. It had more to do with other’s perception. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

When I turned I saw an older man standing there. He looked me square in the eye and said words I desperately needed to hear during that season.

“What you’re doing is the most important job there is.”

I nodded and thanked him, not sure what else to say. I was amazed at God’s ability to use a complete stranger to encourage me during a time of my life when I felt lost and defeated. And in an instant, I knew I was where God wanted me. My doubt and apprehension was replaced with confidence and security.

But old habits have tendency to resurface, don’t they?

Eventually, I had more time to devote to things I loved and opportunities knocked at my door. I was filled with gratitude and awe at how God was using me.

Encouragement from other strangers came. Strangers who eventually became friends and confidants. I linked arms with others who shared a passion for communicating a message and pointing others toward the hope of Christ through words and stories.

But before I realized what was happening, gratitude turned to comparison. Awe turned to impatience. My timeline and God’s were not the same, and goals I thought would take months turned into years.

I fought for affirmation and approval. Sometimes it came, but when it didn’t my security blanket was ripped off like a band-aid. Rejections stung. Silence and waiting stung even worse.

If we let others define who we are, our security will change like the rising tide.

We will constantly lower our buckets into the well of compliments and accolades until we hit the bottom. And one day, the bucket will come up empty. Our source of sustenance will be parched.

But you want to know the good news? There is Living Water. It never runs dry. And his definition of who we are? It never changes, once we’ve received Him.

Friends, we don’t have to fight for our seat at his table.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:6 NIV

 Our status has nothing to do with our abilities, and everything to do with Christ’s finished work. It is because of his grace and love for us that he allows us to participate with him in his divine work.

Perception changes everything. So the next time we’re tempted to compare and fight for our seats at the table, let’s remember this:

Christ’s finished work = our eternal worth.

This world and the people in it do not determine who you are. The One who hung on a tree and paid a price more precious than pure gold does.

Never forget who claimed you as his. Take your seat, and remember your identity comes from him alone.


Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

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Abby Mcdonald

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you, Abby. I needed to read this….today. Curious, at what age (our children’s, smile) would you no longer say, “Don’t ever say you’re just a mom.”?

    I am a Homemaker with 3 wonderful children, ages 24, 22 and 14, two live under our roof. I would be grateful for any insight beyond your blog post. Blessings.

    • Stacey, that’s a good question. I don’t think the statement, “Just a mom,” ever applies because the work we do in the home is always important. However, I do think there comes a time when our job raising them is done. i.e., when they’re adults, although I realize that doesn’t alway mean they’re out of the home. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement! Happy New Year.

  • Like you I went to Christian school, they overlooked my writing ability, and I couldn’t get help with math. I wanted to study journalism, didn’t get to that either. Helping out at family daycare, people thought of me a just a babysitter, far from it. When my mother and I took 20 kids to the zoo, she had an older man brag on her. We are daughters of the King, not just old sinners saved by grace and children need mother whether their own or fostering or adoption, there is desperate need if anyone can do that. God bless you Abby.

    • Yes, things certainly don’t always turn out the way we envision, do they? I’m thankful God is always present even when our path seems to go askew. Thank you for always sharing about your experiences here, Becky. Happy New Year!

  • I just read this and wanted 2 say thanks 4 allowing GOD to use u to reach and recharge my Spirit… I’m retired disable mom of 3 and gma of 2 and wife so I felt useless I raised my kids and help with my grand but I was focus on what I couldn’t do on all my limitations that hinder me 4rm being productive but thanks 4 the NEW meaning… may GOD continue 2 BLESS us all??

  • We don’t have to fight for our seat at His table – deep, beautiful words, Abby. You’re encouraging me today, my friend – for real. 😉 What a good, loving, faithful Father we have.

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