Swiss Rolls and Wood Bleach: Revisiting Identity During Seasons of Transition

My husband and I recently relocated, and as a result, we often find ourselves frequenting home supply stores. During a recent excursion, I chuckled when I was able to locate wood bleach (a necessary home refurbishing item), a box of Swiss rolls, and a gallon of milk—two items I didn’t realize I needed until I passed them in the store. Moments later, a highway billboard informed me that I could indulge in my favorite cider and donuts (notice the plural form) while selecting trendy women’s apparel. Clearly, this convenience could have significant ramifications. As I was driving, the radio chimed in with the latest news that partnership plans continue for a department store, fitness center, and smoothie franchise seeking to further court customers. A simple trip to the store made me aware of the many distractions in pursuing identity.

Personal and Professional Transitions

I have spent much time recently considering the concept of transitions—personally and professionally. While visiting a Christian school recently, it was refreshing to hear one of the teachers say as they reflected on a recent school decision, “We had to reconsider who God intends us to be and how we can be faithful stewards of the resources he has entrusted to us…”

Christian schools and churches are constantly faced with the challenge of remaining true to God’s mission and vision in a culture that calls us to be all things to all people to stay relevant. Scripture encourages us to seek God’s will wholeheartedly in these matters. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) challenges and reassures us:

“…Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

The ultimate purpose, meaning, and blessing for the individual and corporate body are found only in alignment with God’s will. A still, small voice still speaks with clarity amid a chaotic culture and an enemy plotting to steer us away from God’s identity for us, his people. It has been said that the best predictor of what God will do in the future is what he has done in the past. As you consider transitions in your life or that of your students, seek God fervently and ask, “God, what do you want to accomplish in this generation for your purposes?” God is faithful to his Word and purposes; therefore, let us always be people of the Word.

Transitions for Young Adults

I am also concerned about young adults transitioning through high school into young adulthood. They, too, are sifting through the clamoring voices vying for their attention while seeking to hear clearly and know with certainty God’s purposes for their life. Is true meaning established only in degrees, titles, and possessions, as this culture would suggest? 

How can we partner well with teens with disabilities who seek solace when their futures include additional challenges? It is essential to uphold them in prayer and affirm God’s greatest purpose for their lives: to be an image-bearer for the most high God in all areas of life.

This partnership is best accomplished through a strength-based perspective. We take time for ongoing conversation, practice deep listening, pursue and encourage realistic, hope-filled options, and hold the young adult accountable to timely, appropriate personal goals toward their bright future.

As God’s image-bearers, we know there is eternal purpose and meaning for every human life. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) states,

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”.

This world cannot offer even a shadow of purpose compared to the meaningful invitation extended by the Creator to us each day—God offers us an invitation to reflect his characteristics in all opportunities.

In the midst of helter-skelter cultural malaise, let us settle in before our God in his word and let him speak with clarity regarding his image. God is eager to remind us of whose we are, his plans for us, and ways he is equipping us to minister as Christ-centered educators, knowing students excellently and loving them well in this generation.

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been born in God’s thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.”

- George MacDonald
Brenda Maas
Brenda Maas

Brenda Maas served as a teacher consultant and educational resources manager at All Belong.