You Do What You Are
“You are what you do, right?” We label people. Professionals, businessmen, educators . . . we take an identity from our profession. “I’m an investor,” “I’m a doctor,” “Lawyer,” “Salesman,” “Preacher,” “Entrepreneur,” “Mr. Mom”… Most of the time we stop right there, calling on stereotypes to inform people of who they’re talking to.
My brother is a soldier. He was, is, and will always be a soldier. His 7-year-old granddaughter asked him if his ARMY tee shirt ever gets dirty (She’s never seen him wearing anything else). He took her to his closet and showed her 10 clean ones just like the one he had on. It’s his identity.
The identity label is empty when you’re younger . . . when you haven’t done anything yet. “High schooler,” “Teenager,” “Kid,” “College student” . . . none of these tell anything about who we’re talking to. More importantly, these labels don’t tell their wearers anything about themselves. We want an individual identity, not a demographic category.
Maybe the answer comes from figuring out who we are. Maybe grasping who God has already made you to be informs us about what we are to do. Maybe our destiny begins with our design. Maybe we start to work from approval and not for approval.
Let’s start by drawing a circle. Inside the circle, write words that are you. Not what you wish you were or hope to be . . . but words that are truthful about who you are. Outside the circle, write words that are not you. Just for jollies, here’s my first cut at this…
In the circle are words that describe who I am. God has given me these roles and they’ve become both who I am AND what I do.
Inside the circle, I wrote, “Man; adopted, forgiven son of God; husband, father/grandfather; businessman; mentor; friend.”
Outside the circle, I wrote “loser, sinner, liar, incompetent, stupid, careless and arrogant.” I have lost a ton in my life. I’ve done start-up companies where I lost money, both mine and other peoples. I’ve lost people’s hearts because I’ve put challenging above loving. But I’m not a loser.
I’ve sinned. Before I fully surrendered to Christ, I sinned a lot. I still sin. I don’t want to or mean to but I do. But I’m not a sinner. I’m a son of the King of Kings. That’s my identity, and it beats the snot out of "sinner."
Liar? I have lied . . . to myself, to others and to God. But I’m not a liar. I’m incompetent at some things . . . a lot of things. A few times, I didn’t realize it until it hit me in the face. I’ve been stupid on some things. Careless? Yes, I’ve done careless things. Arrogant? Didn’t realize it at the time, but yes, I’ve forgotten who I am and acted arrogantly. But I am none of these things. I am who God says I am. I am who I am in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” -- 2 Corinthians 5:17
We behave from what we believe. Spend some time thinking about what’s in your circle. What you believe about yourself matters almost as much as what you believe about God. In fact, the two are inextricably linked.
Prayer – Father help me to see myself as you see me. Clear up the lies I’ve believed about myself. Give me the courage and confidence to ‘label’ myself from my status in your eyes and not from my past mistakes. In Jesus’ beautiful name. Amen.