My core identity: “His.”
Calligraphy and design have been a surprising detour for me. At heart, I still identify as a writer. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether that’s accurate, because at different stages of my life, God has always provided different creative outlets for me to worship Him, express myself, and point to Him.
During high school, it was piano and song; during college and my single years, it was writing; and during this season, it’s still writing but mostly calligraphy.
But calligraphy, and all the aesthetics that come with it, is new to me. I’ve only been into it for a year and a half (off and on in the beginning), so being known as “the calligrapher” still makes me feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel completely like my own skin yet.
In the beginning, I struggled with this. I wondered if I should drop calligraphy. I wondered if it was changing me. I wondered if I was becoming too much about aesthetics and see-able beauty than inward, lasting beauty.
JE never got that sense. He laughed a little at my wrestlings. To him, it was just another hat I was wearing. At one point, he told me, “Don’t let your pursuits define you. You define your pursuits.”
He’s right. I didn’t need to be defined by the calligraphy world and its values. But I forgot I could redeem this pursuit, shape this pursuit, for His purposes in and through me.
Looking back and inward a bit, I realize my struggle was one of identity. I kept allowing these hats and temporary roles define me to the core.
Rather than seeing myself as a bondservant who took on piano, writing, calligraphy, motherhood, etc., as my Master gave them to me as gifts for a season, I saw myself as pianist, writer, calligrapher, mother in a core sense.
The only role I am to the core is that of His daughter and bondservant. Everything else is a garment that I put on and take off, according to my Master’s calling. I’m not of this world so as to take on the world’s labels to my inmost person.
This is good, because if my hands fall off and I can never touch a pencil, paintbrush, pen, or piano again, my identity suffers no loss. I am still His. My identity is secure, because it relies on my immutable God, not on these earthly garments which will pass away.
But while I’m still here, in everything, I’m called to be a conduit of His grace and goodness (a la Tim Challies) and His ambassador to this foreign world — whatever the role, whatever the means, whatever the season.
I am not my “hat,” but I wear my hat to His glory until He tells me to get another one or do away with these hats all together.