It’s less than 13 months, but the way I treat my “baby” brother sometimes, you’d think I was at least several years older than him. For over 30 years now, I’ve gladly taken on the role as firstborn in our family. As a child, I volunteered as Mom’s helper - who needs fake dolls when you’ve got a real baby in the house? Even as an adult, my firstborn tendencies appear. I like to make a plan. I can be a mother hen. I love to pull everyone together. Most birth order books explain my personality well.

While the “take charge” attitude bodes well in circles such as school and work, I’ve learned it’s not as advantageous when it comes to spiritual things. For years I organized my Bible studies and followed a system for my faith. If there was a box to check - I checked it. I saw myself as a spiritual “mother hen” to many hearts longing to know God. Until one day, something wasn’t working for me anymore. I felt empty. Life seemed dark. And I wasn’t sure who I was anymore; my identity was lost.


Photos by Carol St. Clair

Through a process of letting go of all I knew about myself, and letting God come in and reconstruct me, the darkness slowly began to lift. The process wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, nor did it follow a path I would have planned. But along the way, He showed me that when it came to Him, I had to let go of my birth order.

I pictured myself in a long line of believers with spiritual brothers and sisters all around. In that line, I wasn’t at the front, but I also wasn’t the last in the back. My place in line didn’t matter however, because the important part was who stood at the front of the line.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.f So he is first in everything. Colossians 1:18 NLT


Am I trying to apply the tendencies I’ve formed from my earthly birth order to my spiritual life?