What I do is not who I am

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[vimeo id="120188524"] Donald Miller shared a story in his blog about a retreat he attended. Before people could enter the seven-day retreat, everyone had to turn in their cellphone and agree not to tell anyone their last name or what they did for a living. It doesn’t sound difficult, but Donald quickly began asking himself: without a job, who am I? Who was the Donald Miller people were interacting with? He soon realized that the others were asking these same questions.

Not long ago, I wrote a blog concerning the different lies that our culture can feed us. Here may be the biggest one: who you are depends on what you can do. It sounds good. It even sounds American. It sounds like I am in control of my worth. Now there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to succeed, but it should not define who you are. Here are two reasons why:

First of all, what you do changes over time. Anyone who has experienced the effects of aging can verify this truth. When you’re eighty, you won’t be able to do the same job you were doing at thirty. Does this mean you are less of a person at eighty than you were at thirty? Of course not. During the 2008 recession, many people lost their jobs. Some of them were able to find comparable positions, but a lot of people had to settle for jobs that were perhaps a little below their skillset. Did that mean they were lesser people? Absolutely not. In fact, I’d say being willing to work any job to provide for your family, no matter how menial, is more admirable than the status of any position. So what you do for a living will change, but it shouldn’t define your identity.

Secondly, your humanity is what is valuable. Let me ask you a question: what is the difference between a human and a machine? I’d say that one of the greatest differences is that a machine can probably work and produce more, but people have a sense of humanity. Remember, we are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1). We’re relational beings. We can get to know another person. People have new thoughts, favorite colors, odd senses of humor, and wonderfully different personalities. This is your Divine Design. No one can get to know a machine. If you ask the IPhone’s Siri what her favorite color is, she’ll tell you “greenish but with more dimensions.” Do the electric pulses through your IPhone actually have a favorite color? No, they don’t. It’s a programmed response.

Here’s the bottom line: there is more to you than what you do. So ask yourself some questions. What’s something special about you that people might want to know? What in your Divine Design is something that you can share with people? What’s something unique you could ask about other people? There is so much to each person that goes beyond a job. Don’t buy into the lie that your work has to identify who you are.

Thanks for checking out my blog.  I trust this will help empower you to look deeper into your Divine Design and have a deeper appreciation for the intricacy of who God created you to be. Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments below. Thanks again and have a great day!