I am NOT a Reader

I am not a reader.

I am not a writer, despite childhood ambition.

I am not a knitter, though I used to claim that identity.

I am not a homeschooler, a baker, or a pianist. (There are other things I could wish I were: a gardener, a runner…but I am not.)

A recent severe identity crisis challenged these assumptions with a sobering reminder that my overwhelming sense of hopeless failure was a manifestation of one recurrent habit: claiming too many nouns instead of verbs.

What difference does that make?

If I say that “I am a reader” I tend to feel guilty if I am not reading the right books or enough of them. If I say “I am a homeschooler” but the day goes poorly, is that the result of sin, or a variation of priorities? How does calling myself a homeschooler affect my relationship with a sister in Christ who teaches in public school if I claim an identity she does not share? Don’t we share the same priorities and one another’s burdens in raising our children in a fallen world?

Indulge me, if you will, in a brief grammar lesson.

Recognizing that instead of being a writer, I am a redeemed woman who is called to be a wife, mother, and teacher. I am redeemed by the blood of the Savior who chose me. I am a woman made in the image of God. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher by virtue of being a parent, but not the ONLY teacher my children need. Each of those attributes is a vocation (derived from Latin for “voice”), a calling from someone else with authority, not my own determination. Each of those identities is a noun. If I fall short in my identity, it is the result of sin. Because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, my failure does not change my identity.

I am NOT a Reader
Albert Bartholome, The Artist’s Wife Reading, (1883)

So what about reading? How can I deny being a reader?

I am a redeemed woman…who reads, writes, and knits. Note that these are verbs, not nouns. These occupations are activities that I have personal authority to choose. I hope to indulge in them regularly, but failure to read, write, knit, etc. is not a sin. It means that I had other priorities on a given day. If I do not read, that does not change my identity as a redeemed woman, wife and mother.

What about homemaking? Is that an identity or an activity? Homemaking is a subset of marriage and mothering in which I have freedom to be active according to the priorities of my calling. I need to feed my family, but it doesn’t matter in eternity whether I serve processed or organic meals from scratch. I am still a redeemed woman.

Homeschooling is a choice my husband and I have agreed upon in this season of life, but it is not mandatory in order to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I know godly parents who have chosen private or public school, and have high respect for the ways they are fulfilling their calling and honoring God in their decision. Parenting is a calling that includes discipleship, teaching responsibility, and accountability, regardless of educational method.

So. Am I going to cease calling myself a reader? No, because it is convenient. Most people won’t ponder whether I am choosing an intransitive verb (“I read”) instead of a linking verb with a predicate noun (“I am a reader”). But it makes all the difference in how I embrace nouns as my identity, and determine my verbs and activity.

I am a redeemed woman who reads.

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Megan

Megan is Associate Editor for Redeemed Reader who loves nothing more than helping readers (and non-readers) find books which are not only a good fit for them, but also combine Truth and Story. She has never regretted reading all those fairy tales in childhood, even though she didn’t realize at the time how much they matter to real life. She is the founder of Literaritea Press and plans to publish her first picture book soon. Megan lives with her husband and five boys in Virginia where she enjoys knitting, playing with words, and mountain views.

7 Comments

  1. Renee M. on May 4, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Thank you Megan! The Lord knew I needed your words this morning. As an “older woman” (Oh wait! I am a redeemed woman who is over 50…how’s that?) in a season of transitions, it’s easy to fall back on the easy words. Thank you for directing me to the most important words and to The Word.

    Blessings!

    • Our Team Megan on May 4, 2020 at 7:40 am

      Oh, thank you, Renee! I am so grateful for the Lord’s perfect timing. He created language and the better we understand it, the more we can appreciate how it directs us back to Him.
      In His peace.

      • Bev on May 4, 2020 at 8:03 am

        Love this reflection dear one!

        • Our Team Megan on May 4, 2020 at 10:12 am

          Thank you, dear friend! I miss you!

  2. Weekly Exposé ~ Links You Should Know This Week (May 11, 2020) - Soli Deo Gloria on May 11, 2020 at 2:06 am

    […] I Am Not A Reader: A grammar lesson about whether we identify ourselves as readers or not. […]

  3. Ashley on July 8, 2020 at 11:57 am

    I read this back in May when it was published, and I have to tell you, it’s been resonating ever since. The guilt part in particular as we reflect on our identity when we fail to be a “runner” or “writer” or ” crafter” or “organized mom” because the author of our true identity called us elsewhere that day. Interestingly enough, a podcast spurred this article to mind again as it espoused the true change that we need to make in our lifestyles involved owning these very terms. I rest in the knowledge of my identity as a child of God and enjoy the other areas as gifts from Him. Thank you!

    • Our Team Megan on July 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Ashley, I am so glad to hear from you! Praise God for using this truth in your life as He continues to use it in mine.

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