I have spent a lot of time pondering my own self worth over the majority of 2018. How I looked at myself was tied directly into the titles I held. Husband, dad, son, and friend were and are very important. Deep down I held other ones closer. The title that came with a profession or job. That held a pretty high place. My length of service was a badge of honor. I held onto those things like my life depended on it. They were my identity. It was in April of 2018 that I lost my sense of self. I lost my identity. All that I had worked to create over 19 years was gone and the story of the loser was confirmed.
I suppose at this point I could talk about depression. I certainly went through some deep depression. I had never really been fired from a job before. I didn’t know how to handle it. I spent so much time being the employee that I didn’t know me. So, when the darkness descended I could not function. I have always been an emotional guy. Never one to shy away from a tearful movie. I cried when Jack died holding Rose’s hands. I cried when Dobie died in Harry’s arms. I am a cryer, that is what I do. This time was different. It was some movie that was written in a way to elicit some emotional reaction. This was my life and cried bitterly. My wife, Marji, would head off to work and the kids would leave for school and I would cry.
My emotional reaction to my circumstances was tied directly into this image of what I thought I should be. When the jobs didn’t materialize I assumed that it was a direct corelation to this image that I couldn’t live up to. Opportunity did eventually show up. The problem was that it was the kind of opportunity that required a lot time and money to be in a position to earn. I can say without a shadow of doubt that I am not a salesman. Again, I learned that I didn’t measure up. It was quite literally the same lesson repeating itself. I was a loser and this was going to be my story. It was going to end with me pulling all of my family down with me.
I love Marji Orr! She loved me through it all. She prayed for me when she knew I couldn’t pray for myself. She was my encouragement. She was my strength. She got me through some dark days. She is my partner, my confidant, my best friend. Most importantly, she is also a daughter of the King. She let Christ guide her so that she could guide me.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
She was all of these things. Patient: check! Kind, are you kidding me? Of course she was kind. Not envious, boastful, or proud! It not about her. She focused on my needs and didn’t make feel bad for those days when I may have been difficult to deal with. She taught me where my identity should come from.
There was a time when the Lord and I were not on speaking terms over the last year. Ok, that is not entirely true. I was not talking but he was saying plenty. Maybe not the things I wanted to hear. He was certainly speaking through my wife. That was the only place I could hear him. Money was tight and there always seem to be a timely blessing. A forgotten stipend here, anonimous gift there. Family stepping up to love us even when we did not ask for help. A kind word, a short note of support. Probably one of my favorites was a list of Bible verses from a dear friend. The Lord was talking to me, a loser.
It has taken months to come to the realization that he wasn’t talking to Jeremy the loser but Jeremy the lost. I had forgotton my true identity. I had bought into the lie that my profession somehow defined me and without it I was nothing.
“ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
It is in Christ that my identity lies. I know there will be more dark days. We live in a fallen world. It is a certainty that bad things will happen. However, I move forward knowing that I am surrounded by love both here and in Heaven.
No longer a loser, no longer lost!