Beyond the Label

A few weeks ago I bumped into someone who asked why I don’t write anymore. If you’ve known me for even two seconds on social media, you most likely know that I’m an over-sharer (my husband agrees). I write about my life, the chaos, parenthood, Jesus. I encourage people out of the chaos of my own experiences to hopefully bring them a bit of motivation to keep going and some laughter. 

The response in my head to this person was, “I have written more in the past two years than I have in the past 10 combined.” Sometimes upwards of 30 pages a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Most of which has taken place between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. That writing is good for the current purpose of finishing this degree, but man I have missed the writing that leads to the purpose of processing my days, encouraging myself, encouraging others, and bringing people some laughter. The type of writing in which I can share my life with people and use the word, “I” rather than “this author.” (Because we all know I like to talk about myself, right?)

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved school since I can remember, but officially graduating June 17th is bringing me tons of excitement. 

I finished my last paper sitting on my back porch with Kyle. Now that I’ve got just a few loose ends to tie together, but no more big papers to write, my life has slowed down, immensely. Day one was nice. Day two was flippin’ weird. I’d walk from one end of my house to the other, read a few pages of a book, wonder what I was forgetting to do, clean a room, get bored of cleaning, read a few more pages, walk through the house. Then finally at 10:00 I was like…”well I guess I could go to bed.” Which is strange for a night owl to say and there was a bit of incongruence there. 

If you somehow missed my loud-mouthness on facebook, my doctoral degree is in sport and performance psychology. In a nutshell, I teach athletes mental skills; how to practice and implement these. As a performer, you know the mental side of the game is important, and coaches even encourage athletes to get in the right mindset, but most coaches aren’t trained in teaching “how” to focus or “how” to relax or…etc. etc. I teach people “how.” It’s great fun!

In addition to mental skills, I also have conversations with athletes about their athletic identity. Many athletes invest so much time and effort in their sports. They experience tons of different emotions; having lots of highs and lows and everything in between. They fail; they succeed. They strive for these insanely lofty goals and so often attain them. In the midst of all of this, they can sometimes begin to tie their performance to their worth. 

If they perform well, they are worth a lot. If they perform poorly, they aren’t. If they don’t have sports, (the majority – for at least a little while), question who they are. 

Where does my identity lie?

As I walked around the house looking for things to keep me busy, I recognized the similarities I’m feeling to an athlete who’s about to hang it up. I’ve invested so much time and effort into this darn degree. Reading textbooks while waiting on my doctor to check J’s heartbeat and measure my big belly while 7 months pregnant, hoping my kids would finally give up and go to sleep so I could start my homework at 10:30 some nights, working on discussion posts while timing contractions, nursing a baby while watching a video lecture, once even administering a suppository to a baby while taking a test, never feeling like I could fully focus until I stopped hearing little feet running back and forth from their beds to the kitchen for water and then to the living room for a third hug after tucking them in. 

Let me just say…I am very excited to graduate on June 17th (from my own living room). 

Regardless of which roles I’ve held over the years, I am thankful that I learned early on that my identity lies in Christ. 

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:13-16) 

I recognize on “the scale of one to eternity” (Em’s Bill) that this degree does not matter. I am happy to have (almost) achieved this goal, but I am really thankful that my identity lies in something exceedingly great than a few letters behind my name. 

Whether it be graduating school, ending an athletic career, changing jobs, taking on a label you never asked for, becoming an empty-nester, entering into mid-life/senior status, or whatever the heck else role it is that might be coming or going, just remember your worth is not tied solely to this title. You are worth far more because you are loved and held by the creator of the universe. Remember that!

Bye friends! 🙂

P.S. To anyone else in the same boat as the guy who asked why I don’t write anymore…oh just wait. You’re 19 days away from getting a Brooke overload on all the thoughts I haven’t written over the past couple years. You’re welcome.

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