Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Gather: What Determines Identity?

Gathered Bricks copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—GATHER. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


What have you gathered in your life? Has it been cars or clothes or a collection of one thing or another?

I’ve gathered different things throughout my life.

When I was a girl, I swam competitively, and I loved it. Competing in meets gathered me ribbons when I placed in a race. Those were a visible reminder that I had achieved something.

Swimming Ribbons

I gathered good grades through school, finding affirmation in the fact that I was a good learner, smart even.

In college, I gathered some rather bad memories as I made poor choices. I gathered embarrassing tidbits of regret that sometimes still sting.

But I also gathered true friendships. We grew together toward adulthood and learning how to live life well, in spite of our mistakes.

I gathered aspects of life to form my identity. A job as a teacher. Then later working in women’s ministry at our church. I gathered accolades of things done well. I let them form my identity.

Then when God began to give us children, I gathered beauty from the isolation of new motherhood. I learned the lessons that can only be learned as you walk out daily service to a helpless infant. Those things that I used to declare my identity were gone. I was Jeanne—on the shelf—no longer in the middle of everything.

Daisies in bloom FB copy

I had to learn that my identity didn’t come from things I’d done or accomplished. My identity didn’t come from the things I could gather. It came from understanding who I am in Jesus. I am God’s girl . . . loved perfectly, completely and passionately . . . by the One True Gathering God. Who gathers His children to Himself to love them well, and to call them His own.

What about you? What have you gathered in your life? What has helped form your identity?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Gather