By Susan Burkepile, Contributing Writer


Our house has a major identity crisis.  On any given day – Superman, Batman, train engineers, turtles, ballerinas, Cinderella, teachers, and Captain America lurk in every corner. It seems my children wish to become anything that they are not.

In all seriousness, though, their mother struggles with identity.  And in turn, I have had a few struggles through anxiety and depression.

At the moment, though, my energy level is incredibly high and joy bubbles up in my heart.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy …… so that you may overflow with hope ….  Romans 15:13 NIV


In those moments, my eyes are firmly on my Savior.

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…  Hebrews 12:1-2


I do have a few health conditions that have contributed to my tendency toward anxiety and depression.  But that aside, I know why I fall.  I know why my heart turns from bubbling to frustrated, strained, and impatient.

My eyes turn away from Christ.  And onto myself.  And a large portion of myself is my family, my marriage.

I have a wonderful, Godly husband.  A beautiful marriage.  But it is not perfect.  Sometimes it is hard.  Very hard.  Sometimes we are two stubborn sinners fighting against each other instead of for each other.

And in those moments of struggle, I have a choice.  My identity is either based on who I perceive my husband believes me to be OR my identity is based on who Christ is.

But so many times I fall prey to sin.  And I see our marriage in light of myself.  I hear my husbands constructive criticism as disappointment in who I am.  I see his tiredness not as a result of his long hours but as a disinterest in me.  I see his attempts to help with the housework as my failure as a wife.  I see his uneaten plate of food as an attempt to communicate his distaste for my cooking.

And suddenly, I feel criticized, unappreciated, and failed.  But even if he had truly said any of those things – it shouldn’t matter.  My heart should still be centered on Christ.  And who I am in Him.

And sometimes, it takes a steep fall for me to realize that my heart has turned.  No circumstance, no criticism, and no failure can affect my joy.  In Christ.

He is unmovable.  My identity in Him is unmovable.

And the funny thing is – when my eyes are sharply focused on Christ – my perception changes.  I desire to serve my husband instead of receiving constant affirmation from him.

I hear his criticisms with a constructive and positive attitude. I see his tiredness as an opportunity to help him unload and unwind.  I see his attempts to help with the housework as an act of kindness.

And in these beautiful moments, I pray that God will continue to work in my heart.  To create in me a servants heart.  A selfless heart.

He must increase, but I must decrease.  John 3:30 ESV