Struggling with Identity?

Do you know who you are and who you aren’t? Sometimes it takes a lifetime to finally embrace our true identity as God’s beloved. And to live the unique story He is writing of our lives…

That great theologian Dolly Parton once said, “Find out who you are, and then do it on purpose!”

Recently I was asked this question in an interview: “In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?”

Giggling nervously, I sighed. Remembering how I had always wanted to be the Strong, Female Lead. Single-handedly changing the world!

Why, at age ten I wrote actress idol Hayley Mills a letter and asked her for tips on how to become a child star. Throughout my youth I seemed to fearlessly jump into up front leadership roles. And by the time I entered professional speaking and writing, it seemed that many role models were perfect — from their dress-for-success shoulder pads to their neatly outlined upbeat messages.

And I thought, “That’s who I want to be – an exquisite, elegant Ming Vase!”

But God definitely had other plans for this girl. The Bible stated clearly that God’s people carry His treasure in ordinary jars of clay.

But I wanted success, victory, influence and acknowledgment. “Think of what I could do for you, God!” I said, even as I stumbled and fell, riding the roller coaster of achievement and defeat. Until God’s grace stooped and lifted me to a quiet and unseen place where I could finally settle into His unconditional love and mercy.

I was so very tired of pretending to be perfect, polished and public. My continual striving for such a platform and persona had almost destroyed me.

In desperation I turned inward and sought to spend more time in silence, study, and spiritual soul care. I refocused on dwelling in God’s presence and learning to live a praying life. Suddenly what was going on behind the lights was a whole lot more important that what I presented to the world.

Best of all, in our grace tutorial God helped me understand who I am and who I am not. And I embraced my new identity as beloved – choosing a life of serenity and strength.

God wanted to use me through my Real Story. The one that included failure as well as faith. Grace freed me as I discovered God had created me to be an ordinary vessel through which His extraordinary power could shine. Yes, just me, not flashy or famous, but totally dependent on the power of God within me to accomplish amazing things.

In remembering this part of my hard journey, I smiled at that interviewer and answered firmly, I’m definitely the “girl next door!”

Today, my readers often say that as they study my books they feel as though I’m just sitting with them over a cup of coffee, sharing about life. What greater calling than to be an imperfect someone who is approachable? Everything I say about life offers the possibility that if God faithfulness can show up through someone like me, then there is hope for us all.

“We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.”    2 Corinthians 4.7 MSG

Oh, friend, you and I are fearfully and wonderfully made — let’s live vibrantly!

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

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Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouragement at


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  1. Kimberly Bloom on August 12, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Your words are encouraging and comforting. Thank you!

  2. Maribeth Ditmars on August 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    This post really resonated with me. After I completed my first book I was sure that Oprah would be calling any day. For a long time, it was about me, not about Jesus. This is something that I still struggle with at times.

    There is A type of Japanese pottery called kintsugi- if I am spelling it correctly. Broken pottery is fused back together and the cracks are adorned with gold. My tragic life is like this. Jesus has added the gold. Sometimes other see it, and sometimes they only see a plain clay pot. But I am content that He sees it.


  3. Tammy Sue on August 15, 2020 at 12:20 am

    I truly needed this today! Thank you for sharing your honest struggles. 💜

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