I am occasionally hit with profoundly profound thoughts. Then there is the rest of the time. Yesterday I realized that we are who we are. How’s that for profundity? Lest you be quick to judge me stupid, let me explain so you can be assured you are correct. I am defined by a standard that I choose to reject. It is the objective truth of who I am. Like gravity, it does not require me to believe this truth in order to validate it. It just is. But because I either do not understand or accept that reality, I revert to the subjective truth of what I do.
What defines you? Your job, your friends, your hobbies? I am many things; pastor, runner, photographer, writer, counselor, husband, father, friend and teacher. While I just said I am many things, I just provided a list of things I do. That list is off the top of my head. As I catalog these things, I wonder why I ordered the list that way. Am I most defined by pastor? Does pastor describe my job, my office, my role or the core of who I am?
Why do we frequently ask each other as a conversation starter what we do? Especially us guys. It’s because we believe it defines us. A few years ago, I held a used car dealer’s license. Did that define me? Careful now! At least I wasn’t a lawyer. I know a man who used to sell mattresses. Now he sells insurance. So, who is he?
Is it so bad to be defined by what we do? Really, what harm is there? I believe there is great harm because if I am what I do, then I am never good enough. At what point are you a good enough doctor? CEO? Painter? Writer? Accountant? There will always be others better than you and always room for improvement. There is also just as room for failure. If you are defined by being a doctor, what happens if you lose your license? What becomes of the programmer who gets laid off or the nurse who gets fired? Your entire identity can vanish in a moment.
What if you were defined by something (or someone) over which you had no control? What if someone else imposed your identity and it could not be changed? Does that scare you? Isn’t it more reassuring to be self-made? But what if the one who defined you was both powerful and good. What if he loved you intensely? Let’s dump our subjective truths and grab onto the truth of a creative God who designs; a designing God who creates.
Here is a description of who HE says you are:
- You were created in the image of your creator (Gen 1:26)
- You were formed by God before your mother knew you existed (Ps. 139:13)
- You were uniquely fashioned. Snowflake images aside, there is no one like you in existence (Ps. 139:14)
- You were made for a purpose, a mission (Eph. 2:10)
- You are broken (Rom. 3:9-12, 23)
- You are loved (Rom. 8:38,39)
- You are redeemed (Hebr. 10:14)
- You are called (2 Tim. 1:9)
This is who you are and you cannot change it. Release your grasp on the identity you have tried to create and grab hold of who God has created you to be. He holds you in the palm of his hand and that is an identity that cannot be shaken.