Does my head look big in this hat?

By Annmarie Miles

(From the January - March 2018 issue of VOX)

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A few months ago, I spent an afternoon with a group of people I hadn’t seen for a few years. One of them didn’t recognise me. She had no idea who I was and didn’t believe my sister when she tried to convince her that it really was me. (I do look quite different these days, having shed some poundage.)

Every so often, over the course of the afternoon, someone would comment how different I was. How I got up off the chair with little effort. How I knelt to talk to one of the children and didn’t struggle to get back up. More family arrived and this time one of the children didn’t recognise me, and off we went again. It was great, don’t get me wrong but I was spun further into an identity crisis that had been brewing for some time.

Life has changed so drastically in the last few years and I feel that the person I am is being stretched to my limit. My world has changed and I’m not 100% confident that I always fit into it these days. And now I don’t even look the same.

I spent some time alone and pondered what was going on. I made an unhelpful list (‘cos I wasn’t confused enough). “Who am I really, Lord?” I prayed.

I’m Irish, but I live in Wales. So, I’m an immigrant really.

I used to be ‘a wife’ now I’m the Pastor’s wife, and “YES!” they are two different jobs.

The writer in me is in constant angst (so no change there, then).

I’m a deacon in the church, which carries joyous responsibility and plenty of scope for me to mess up.

I worked for 15 years in the Christian charity sector. I now work in customer service in local government.

I’m a former extremely fat person and a current fat person.

I still make a mean banana bread – I just can’t eat it anymore.

Nothing drastically different, but nothing is the same. I spent time asking God, “Who am I? Am I still me if some of the people I love don’t even recognise me anymore?”

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not so much about the hats, as the head.

It was pretty scary. I always thought it was about hats, you see. I’d answer most questions with my hat question. “Are you asking me about the trees outside the church with my deacon hat or my local council hat?” “Are you asking me about the newsletter with my writer hat or my deacon hat, or my pastor’s wife’s hat?” “Are you asking me about dinner with my wife hat, or my weight loss hat?”

This year, I want to continue to lose weight. I want to develop in all the different areas of life that God has opened up for me. And I want to see how all these pieces of my life fit together.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not so much about the hats, as the head. Colossians 1 talks about Jesus being “head of the body, the church”. All that I am and all that I do, comes under His headship. My identity lies in Him and my whole life, every part of it, is hidden with Christ in God. That’s also from Colossians, chapter 3. It tells me who I really am… His.

I’ve lots more to think and pray about. In the meantime, I think I’ll head out for some fresh air. A nice long walk. What’s that? Did you say, “It’s cold outside?”

Should I wear a hat?
 

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Annmarie Miles is originally from Tallaght, now living in her husband Richard’s homeland, Wales. If you’d like to read more between VOX Magazines, her blog is called Just Another Christian Woman Talking Through Her Hat. The Long & the Short of it, her first collection of short stories, can be found at www.annmariemiles.com/books, or you can pick it up in Footprints bookshops in Dublin.