Identity, it's thieves, and living free

Tuesday, November 15

{random side note, I LOVE these picture above...Kev, Izzy and I went mini golfing and found these glasses...oh the fun we had!}

A few weeks ago I was working a booth for ELI at Global Vision Week at Azusa Pacific University. I was in my element, connecting with students and telling and listening to stories. Don't you just LOVE stories:) But the most hilarious slash embarrassing part of the week, was the fact that after 27 years as a Katie, it was apparent that I have a speech impediment when it comes to saying my name, and only my name. It's true, for some reason "Katie" evidently comes out sounding like "Ketty" or "Casey" or "Callie". You might think i'm joking, but almost 80% of the time, people had to crane their ears my way, and ask me again what my name was, almost always insinuating it was something other than Katie. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or make an appointment with a speech therapist.

But as I was reflecting on my apparent lack of name pronunciation, I started to think about how our name is the doorway to our identity. I mean, the most basic form of Identification really just has your name on it, right? Identity is a strange beast. In childhood, we seem to just be completely free with who we are (for more on that, see my post on children here). We inherently move and think and breathe and laugh, oblivious to making a wrong move or saying the wrong thing.

And then the awkwardest stage alive hits us; our hormones start to party, and we finally realize that Payless Shoe source just doesn't cut it if we want to be cool. It's like the scene from Genesis when Adam and Eve realize they are naked for the first time, and cover up with fig branches (which I always thought was random). But for us, it's make-up and zit cream, and bad bangs, and airwalks (for my generation). But mostly it's the hard part of realizing that you are being judged and having no idea how to deal with it all. For me, seventh grade is when I began to lose that childlike confidence and wonder. I had a friend, who at times was a gem. And then at other times, was extremely sarcastic and hurtful. Whether or not she realized it, her cutting remarks and cold shoulders began to push me to live out of fear. I was fearful of saying the wrong thing, or worried that I wouldn't be funny if I tried. I began to think and re-think the things I wanted to say, timid that I would be shot down by her. My identity soon became marked by a crippling fear.

{see, now is this picture not awkward? what the heck am I even doing?}

And soon, like most insecurities and fears, we develop some way to compensate. For me, I replaced my personality with personal accomplishments. I thought that if somehow I was able to engage in enough applaudable endeavors, or travel to the most exotic destinations, people would pick out those treasures and consider me a person of value. But that gets tiring, when all we are is reduced to a resume or a superficial conversation that finds its foundation in one-uping the other person. Whew, tires me out just thinking about it. But to some degree, i'm sure you all can resonate with the futility of this exchange.

And then I moved to Garnet Lane, where people didn't give a darn about what the heck I had done with my life. No one dealt in resumes, or cared what University I went to. I don't think anyone even knew where UC Davis was. I was away from everything that I knew, and in the middle of the 'hood, where the tamale man was more common than the mailman, mariachi music was the disc of choice, and walking past the shrine to Mary became old hat. I was no one special, just a girl who began to "be" and not "do", to "observe and learn" and not "divide and conquer".

And then God began his business of undoing the skewed identity that had grown layers of peels around my fragile heart. He worked with hands so soft, bringing dear souls into my life to teach me what it looked like to just BE. In the past, my inner-multi-tasker would sound the alarm that I was invariably wasting time. But as God began to pump his likeness through me, he would gently whisper “Katie, as you look to ME for guidance, I enable you to do less, but accomplish more”. My eyes began to see the beauty in just sitting with a neighbor, or playing cards with a child– even if I felt like it was wasted time. I began to realize that God wants us to waste precious time WITH him, and with his people. No longer was identity in the doing, but in the being.

And then came a taste of freedom- of catching that vision that my identity was no longer rooted in fear, or driven by accomplishment. My identity blossomed when God taught me the beauty of obscurity that took eyes off ME, and on to HIM and his people. Freedom is when we live like Jesus, with a love so deep for Father and people that it burns with no competition in our hearts. I admit that I am only a student and that my great Rabbi is still teaching me daily. But I take steps, and my master guides my way.

And even if I can't pronounce my name, whatever! I don't care if you call me Ketty or Casey or identity is in Christ, it is no longer I who live but He!

Happy Tuesday!!
Love Katie


  1. oh friend. I LOVE THIS! thank you for your ever-beautiful posts. I love reading your thoughts and revelations - you totally encourage my soul!

    and HAHAHA how great is that photo!! apart from the awkward, you were theee cutest kid!

  2. What beautiful encouraging words Katie!

  3. You my dear, are a very gifted writer. There really are very few people who I actually read much of their blog, but I've been thoroughly enjoying yours. Thanks for sharing your heart with the blogging world :)

  4. Friends, thank you so much for your encouragement:) It means so much! Sometimes I'm not sure if the things I say will resonate with anyone else, so i'm glad to hear they've been received:) Love you all!

  5. I know I've already commented on this post.. but HA can't get over that first pic! LOVE IT!!!!

  6. I love this post, Katie! And your pictures!! :) Having the focus off of us is key... it's freeing, but man it's a struggle! Love it... heart you.


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