Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Identity Crisis: Making a Full Circle with Faith

identitycrisisPublished March 2014: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Identity Crisis: Making a Full Circle With Faith

When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a teacher. The thought of holding that red pen and bossing a bunch of kids around seemed exciting to me. In 8th grade, I wanted to be Joan Jett, singing rock songs to a crowd of screaming fans.

In high school, I decided I wanted to be an accountant, crunching numbers and filing taxes all day long. By the time I took my first managerial accounting class in college, the appeal quickly faded.

During my college years, I kept searching for my calling by changing my major six times – from accounting to business to music management to communications to psychology – until I finally decided upon journalism. I loved the thrill of reporting and the idea of spending my days and nights writing seemed glamorous.  After a few years as a reporter, I realized that something was missing, so I continued my schooling and found myself embarking on a career as a college professor.

I was fortunate to find a career teaching writing – one of my primary passions, yet one that allowed me to be in the classroom, holding that red pen and nurturing eager minds (without the bossy approach as I envisioned at 7).

It took more than 25 years and a lot of student loan debt for me to realize that my 2nd grade self knew where I belonged. I could think back about those early dreams and goals and focus on regrets and wasted time, but I can’t because not one minute of my soul-searching and major changing was a mistake.

I needed to find my own identity and calling through search and discovery. And, that’s just what I did. I learned my likes and dislikes and made some costly mistakes along the way, but more importantly, I experienced a journey that led me to a future and career that is fulfilling and fitting.

What I have realized is that finding your own identity is a lifelong journey, just like our faith. We choose to be faithful in one instance and then convince ourselves that it’s not a good fit. We stray from the church and then find ourselves coming back. I’ve been to more churches and faith congregation services than I can count, and still, in my late 30s, I still find myself feeling welcome in the parish where I grew up.

The key to finding faith that is a fit is to look inside yourself and more importantly, trust your instincts. My 2nd grade self knew firsthand the love I received from my church family. She felt embraced and safe sitting in those pews. But, she also knew that I would have to discover my own path – both career-wise and faith-wise – on my own.

The journey had its ups and downs and it may continue for years to come, but I wouldn’t trade the learning experience for anything. I have my faith right beside me and that little second-grade voice whispering in my ear, reminding me that I am blessed to be on this journey.

— Shannon Philpott

Read More Fresh Takes on Faith HERE

March 14, 2014 - Posted by | Newspaper Writing, Opinion, Sample Work | , , , ,


  1. Reblogged this on A Faith-filled Woman.

    Comment by faithisluv | March 14, 2014 | Reply

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    Comment by Kellye | July 26, 2014 | Reply

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