I’m not a reader
I am not a reader.
I am not a writer, despite my childhood ambition.
I am not a knitter, although I have claimed this identity.
I am not a homeschooler, baker or pianist. (There is
other things I could ask for: a gardener, a runner … but I'm not.)
A recent major identity crisis has challenged these assumptions
with a sobering reminder that my overwhelming feeling of hopeless failure was one
Manifestation of a recurring habit: using too many nouns instead of verbs.
What difference does it make?
When I say that I am a reader, I tend to feel guilty when I am
not reading the right books or enough of them. When I say "I'm a homeschooler"
but the day goes bad, is the result of sin or a variation of
Priorities? How does it affect my relationship with homeschoolers?
a sister in Christ who teaches in public school when I claim an identity that she does
do not share? Aren't we sharing the same priorities and the burdens of each other?
Raise our children in a fallen world?
Treat me to a short grammar lesson if you like.
Realize that instead of being a writer, I am
a redeemed woman who is called to be a wife, mother and teacher. I am
redeemed by the blood of the Savior who chose me. I am a woman made in the
Image of god. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a teacher because I am one
Parents, but not the ONLY teacher my kids need. Each of these attributes is
an appeal (derived from Latin for "voice"), an appeal from someone else with
Authority, not my own determination. Each of these identities is a noun.
If my identity is insufficient, it is the result of sin. Because there is none
Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, my failure does not change
Albert Bartholome, The Artist’s Wife Read(1883)
So what about reading? How can I refuse to be a reader?
I am a redeemed woman …who reads, writes and knits.
Note that these are verbs, not nouns. These professions are activities
that I have personal authority to choose. I hope to enjoy them regularly
But failure to read, write, knit, etc. is not a sin. It means I had others
Priorities on a given day. If I don't read it doesn't change my identity
as a redeemed wife, wife and mother.
What about housework? Is it an identity or an activity?
Housework is a subset of marriage and motherhood in which I have the freedom to be
active according to the priorities of my calling. I have to support my family, but
It doesn't matter in eternity whether I serve processed or organic meals
scratch. I am still a redeemed woman.
Homeschooling is a choice that my husband and I have agreed upon in this time of life, but it is not mandatory to raise our children in the Lord's upbringing and exhortation. I know godly parents who have chosen a private or public school and have great respect for the way they fulfill their calling and honor God in their decision. Parenting is a calling that includes discipleship, teaching responsibility and accountability regardless of the parenting method.
In order to. Will I stop calling myself a reader? No, because it's comfortable. Most people won't think about whether I choose an intransitive verb ("I'm reading") instead of a linking verb with a predicate noun ("I'm a reader"). But it makes a difference how I take nouns as my identity and how I determine my verbs and activities.