Category Archives: Identity

A Plan of Attack for Back to School Busy

As soon as I clicked on my inbox, I instantly regretted it. It was early July and we were on vacation, but already in my inbox, along with emails from my favorite retailers and the blogs I follow, were half a dozen school related messages. A high school football booster club meeting that Wednesday night, a Sign Up Genius to volunteer for the middle school carnival the first week of school, a solicitation to fill a vacant PTO position, a schedule pick up day reminder and billing statements from both my daughter’s university and her sorority. My heart started racing and though half of summer was left, it felt like it was coming to a screeching halt.

If you have school-age kids (and maybe even if you don’t) you likely also feel like back-to-school time can rival the Christmas holidays on the busyness scale.  But then again, in today’s culture does the busyness ever subside?

Busyness was not meant to define and control us, so before we get too far buried underneath all the activities and meetings to come, let’s put on our gospel lenses to evaluate and shape how we prioritize our time.

How Busyness Becomes An Identity

I often hear moms complain about how busy they are; sometimes I’m one of them. But as I started to respond to a text with this sentiment, I stopped myself. Not because it isn’t true, but to evaluate whether my busyness has become an identity. If I’m honest, how much I do and accomplish in a day makes me feel better about myself. I am also tempted to view others according to what they do—as if being less busy or less super-woman-like signifies being less than.

As ugly as it is to see this about myself, I think many of us functionally live as if our identity is tied to what we do. Isn’t this why we often take on more responsibilities, volunteer roles, and projects even when we are already running ragged trying to get dinner on the table and our kids to their activities? If this is you, ask Jesus to help you see yourself not based on what you do, but who he is for you.  Jesus did everything necessary to set you free from having to prove your worth through your own performance and perfectionism. So whether you have a lot on your plate, or a little, rest in his finished work for you.

How Busyness Reflects Your Treasures

Just as our busyness can become a false identity, we can see our false treasures in our busyness. So consider what you make time for. It is said a look at one’s pocketbook and calendar will reveal what’s most important. God’s word puts it this way, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

By the looks of our calendars, what may appear to reign supreme is our kids’ activities, jobs, hobbies, and me-time. In their proper place these things are not bad. But elevated to a place in our lives that prohibit us from routinely being at church, spending time in God’s word, and investing in the lives of others is a clear sign something other than Christ is our greatest treasure. Of course, it’s easy to justify not having control over our schedule, but generally speaking we do what we want to do. If this is you, ask God to show you how to redeem your time by reordering your priorities to match what his word says is most valuable.

How To Evaluate Busyness

As a pastor’s wife, author, and mom of three teenagers, I understand how stressful life feels when being pulled in so many directions. Easily, what I value most can fall to the wayside with my family only getting what’s left of me. So I’ve found it takes knowing myself and being intentional when it comes to calendar commitments.

So while I genuinely enjoy wearing multiple hats, in this stage of life it is not best for my family or my mental health to say “yes” to too many things— even if they are good things. Therefore, before quickly agreeing to something because it sounds fun or like something I would like to be involved with I must consider the costs. Would it require me to be spread too thin? To neglect family time? Miss church? We must remember saying “yes” to something consequently means saying “no” to other things.

Likewise saying “yes” in order to please others is never the right reason to add more to our plates. I am guilty. At times I have not said no when I should have because what mattered most to me was someone else’s opinion, whether it was not wanting to disappoint or wanting to be associated with a particular person. Either way and whatever the case is for you, by God’s grace, may we recognize the ruling idols for what they are and see our identity secure in him so we can live with better balance even in the busy seasons of life.

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Your Identity is Not In Your Greek Letters

This time last year when my first-born was heading to college for the first time I was consumed with what life would look like without her home, her own transitioning and sorority recruitment. I know there are countless others parents and students out there who feel this same anxiety now as I did then. So today I am starting a three-post series related to college – for the student & parent.

I’m kicking it off by rerunning an edited version of a popular post from last August as a reminder of where our true identity is found. While sorority recruitment and looking to Greek letters for an identity may not have anything to do with you, we all turn to false sources looking for worth. So I hope no matter what stage of life you’re in you’ll read on and share if you think others will also benefit…


With Sorority Recruitment soon taking place on college campuses, college girls, moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and by default dads, brothers and grandfathers will engage in enough conversation about it to last a life time.  I know this from experience last year when my daughter went through the exhausting process leading up to Bid Day. In fact, if I could’ve logged hours and been paid for all the time I spent thinking and talking about Rush, it would’ve been a fruitful week.  As it was, a very unproductive week because of the all-consuming nature of the beast that had me digging deeper.

But the “beast” is maybe not what you think. I am not writing to offer a better way for sororities to recruit new members. Though there certainly are flaws, beautiful stories come out of sorority recruitment too – such as the new friend my daughter connected with over a conversation about her tattoo. What the “beast” has more to do with (in my opinion) is our own hearts, and what we think those two or three Greek letters say.

Too often for those of us affiliated with a sorority, the Greek letters we wear become who we are- how we identify ourselves. Where we find our worth. Likewise, we base others’ worth on how we view their particular “house.” So if we are honest, I believe this plays into one of the many reasons girls, their moms and entourage become obsessed with Rush.

For many of you, it may seem this post doesn’t relate to you because you weren’t in a sorority or your daughter is nowhere near college age. I want to challenge us though to see how in various ways we all try to find our worth in something that wasn’t meant to define us. It may be your profession, where your kids go to school, what zipcode you live in, or your specific neighborhood, where you shop or vacation, what kind of car you drive, what clubs you are involved in, where you go to church, what social events you attend, who your friends are, who your spouse is, how good a parent you are, how well your kids behave and on and on.

None of these things determine your worth. Only God can. Why then do we mistakenly base how we feel about ourselves, for better or worse, on such temporal things?

I believe it goes back to the soul hole I’ve written about before: The longing we have to know we are deemed accepted and valued. So we go on a quest of trying to stuff our soul hole with things we think will satisfy us and give us worth. And while some may seem to work for a time, eventually we need something bigger, something more.

Until we discover God is the only something bigger and something more who can make us whole, we will keep turning to false things to give us the identity we long for. On the other hand, to rest in our true identity is to know we are God’s most treasured possession, created in his image and bestowed with inifinte worth.

For a little while God made even his son stoop beneath us, sending Jesus to serve us by living the perfect life we could never achieve and then dying sacrificially. Both done on our behalf so God could welcome us as sons and daughter for all eternity. 

Because Jesus did the work, God can now say to us, Child, you are accepted. You are mine. Not because you earned your place or did anythig to deserve my namesake, but it was my good pleasure. What I give to you is your most sure identity that nothing or no one can take away.”

  • What if we lived like this is true?
  • How would that change the way we think about ourselves and others? No matter what we (or they) have or don’t have. 

College friends, you are not your Greek letters. You are so much more. And your neighbor – she, too, is so much more than what her Greek letters or non-affliation says.

Adult women and men, you too. Your identity is not based on what the world says is worthy. Find rest in knowing your worth is secure in the One who went to the cross in order to say, “It is finished.”

“Finished for YOU, my child who I loved to the grave and back, for all eternity.”

Now Dear College Freshman, may you go off to college and even through Rush be free of yourself because you know you are freely loved and full of worth!

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Jesus Calling Podcast Interview

About five years ago a friend gave me a copy of Jesus Calling. Most of us in Christian circles are familiar with this little book that has sold a million times over across the world. What I learned about it’s widespread appeal back then is how the daily devotionals seemed to speak directly to the reader no matter what they were going through. And so it is with God’s Word as Jesus comes off the page to enter in personally with us.

Airing today is my Jesus Calling podcast episode. I was paired with Jennie Allen since we share a common passion in helping women and teens see their identity in Christ is secure, which means there is: Nothing to Prove. Such freedom when we get who Jesus is for us and begin to rest in his grace. It’s what Face Time for teen and college girls is all about!

Hope you enjoy listening in: http://bit.ly/KristenHatton

Or you can read the text here:

Nothing Compares to the Love of Christ: Jennie Allen & Kristen Hatton – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 53