This month Sarah answers the question:
If I decide to homeschool my kids, will I give up my own identity?
This is a relevant and important question that I’ve wrestled with quite a few times through the years. I have homeschooled for 22 years, with an “older crop of kids” and finishing a “younger crop” in 5th and 7th grades this year. At this point in my life, I have three grandchildren, and see the “empty nest” approaching, but have enjoyed mothering and homeschooling so much. It’s normal and natural to revisit thoughts about our identity when we go through life changes.
One helpful distinction for me has been to make sure I am clear in my own mind that Who I Am is separate from What I do. Furthermore, What I Do is seasonal, and Who I Am is settled.
When we have these questions again and again in new seasons of life, we often have to “Go back to the basics,” as my mother used to say to me.
So what is my identity as a believer? The following are just a few important Bible verses that give me clear thinking on the topic of identity.
1. I am created in the Image of God – Genesis 1:27
2. God knew me, and carefully knit me together before I was born – Jeremiah 1:5
3. When I received Jesus I became a Child of God – John 1:12
4. I am part of and belong to the Body of Christ – I Corinthians 12:27
5. God lavishes His love on His children – I John 3:1-2
So, my Identity statement might sound like: I was wonderfully and fearfully made in the Image of God and I am known by Him. I will forever belong and have a place His family because I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My value as a daughter comes from God alone not from what I do.
The mistake we ALL make is to believe that “What we do is who we are.” For this reason, decision-making, like the homeschooling question, raises questions about our Identity.
The idea of homeschooling, at first, can seem restrictive and limiting to all the other things we would like to accomplish or be involved in…which can actually be true. Anyone taking on a new part-time job would limit his/her ability to do other things. There are only so many hours in one 24-hour period. The lie that “We can do it all” is just that… a lie!
But a beautiful thing can happen if we are settled in God’s love and favor for us, and seek His wisdom for What To Do in all areas of our lives. After we establish our value as coming from Him, we are free to listen and obey what He directs us to do.
Practically, if God leads you to homeschool your children He will give you the grace to do it, and show you along the way how He is using it for your family’s best. You don’t lose your identity as a homeschool parent, because Who You Are doesn’t change. What You Do will change as you make new friends, and find new exciting things to be involved in that will support your goals and new direction. Moreover, the season of homeschooling is similar to the season of raising children that anyone experiences. Your primary focus is on the care and needs of your family, which is a privilege and a joy. This focus can be accomplished whether you homeschool, work outside the home, or have some variation in-between.
Settling Identity questions, especially in a new season, always calms our hearts and helps us live in peace with the focus and leading God has given us.