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“I don’t know who I am anymore!” I wailed to my confused husband and slumped into a pile of tears. I was Dave’s wife and Abbie’s mom; somehow my own identity had become lost. Over the next few months, I set out on a quest to find myself. In the process, I learned four keys to discovering and celebrating my individuality once again.

1. Free to be me!

I discovered accepting who I had become, imperfections included, unlocked the mystery of my identity. I needed to embrace and even celebrate my individuality. In each of us dwells a reflection of the Creator. Embracing our uniqueness produces the freedom to leave insecurity behind and forge ahead into new territories and celebrate who we have become.

2. Do something!

I recently attended a painting class. I hadn’t touched a canvas since eighth grade. Feeling intimidated, I convinced two of my friends to join my wild adventure. The results were unsophisticated, but we found joy in our accomplishment. We even snuck into our church to hang our masterpieces in the coffee bar, proudly displaying our freedom to try. In this small, seemingly insignificant act, I discovered something inside me I didn’t know existed. I learned to pursue what I love. Redesign the living room, write a story or solve a difficult math equation; do what moves you.

3. Time is ticking away!

I have learned to make appointments with myself and keep them. Put away the mommy guilt! It is not selfish to take time to be a better wife and mom. I will go mad if I don’t take a time out from my family. And to be honest, I will never have the time to do the things I love unless I take the time and make them happen. Work, laundry, meals and soccer will fill my planner, if I allow them to do so.

4. Just say no!

My encouragement: say no once in a while. We love to please others, sometimes to the detriment of our own sanity. Learning to say no has given me the freedom to say yes to the things I love to do and are a reflection of who I am. I know I don’t mix well with the nursery crowd. Although I disappointed the nursery coordinator by saying no to her, I freed myself to serve with the worship team instead.

Being a mom didn’t hide my identity; it was still there. I just needed to give myself permission to embrace who I had become and take time to pursue what I loved to do. I find joy in being me and look forward to each new adventure with anticipation.

Amy is a former MOPS Volunteer Staff and group Coordinator. In addition to being a wife and mom of three (ages from 5-15; hello! student driver), she also teaches English Language Arts at an alternative high school in Wyoming and is passionate about offering her students hope and opportunities to succeed.

Which of the four keys Amy shares do you struggle with the most?