March 28, 2018
Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try to find purpose in your career or work, that you’re still left feeling empty? I’ve noticed that our whole society is struggling with a major identity crisis. Most people don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives, and run on a hamster wheel searching for fulfillment.
It’s hard when we go from the pressures of picking a major in college, to choosing the “right” career path, to finding the “perfect” job, and in the end we’re spinning our wheels and coming up empty-handed.
The underlying message in these decisions is that finding our life purpose and mission is in what we choose to do with our lives. The idea of discovering our calling isn’t a bad one, but the breakdown in truth happens when we define our success by what we do, not who we are. Today I want to propose to you that living from your identity, in simply being a child of God, is a lot more powerful (and fulfilling) than trying to work your way into a happy life.
To Be Or Not To Be
This symptom of society played out in a conversation I had while traveling. I took a long plane ride a while back, and sat next to a young college student. I asked him what he wanted to do with his life, and he replied that he wanted to be an attorney. God gave me insight into this young man’s calling, showing me that he would not be a good attorney since his value for relationships was much higher than his value for justice.
I said, “The first time you get into court and have to attack someone’s character to make your case, you’re not going to sleep at night.” He perked up and agreed. As God gave me more insight about his unique gift mix, as he was both creative and organized, I told him he would make an amazing movie director. He almost jumped out of his seat! “I have always wanted to be a director, and I was the head of my drama class in high school!” “That’s what you need to do with your life,” I told him. “You’re the next Steven Spielberg!”
Are You Doing More Than Being?
What’s the lesson we can all learn from my plane conversation? Well think about if this young guy had focussed on what he thought he was supposed to do instead of who he is. He would end up in a career that would have always felt “off” and probably would have relegated himself to a life of striving for success and looking for the answers to his deep yearning for meaning.
Understanding the unique way that God created him gave insight into the career that would actually bring him life, instead of the career being his source of fulfillment and success.
At the end of the day we have to be human beings before we are human doings. This keeps the main thing the main thing. When we try to “do” something without first “being” someone, we find ourselves making a living at a job we hate. Or we gain our self worth from what we do. This works when we perform well, but if we fail at something, our self esteem goes down the drain along with our confidence and joy.
Identity Is An Impartation
Identity is not about what you do, but about who you are. How are you answering your heart cry to know this? Is it from the number on your paychecks or the amount of “likes” on your last Instagram post? Perhaps it’s even tied to the success of your children’s lives? My friend, those will never be enough. They’re limited. It isn’t until you find the foundation of who you are in the love of God that you’ll get access to the unlimited resources of heaven—love, joy, and purpose included.
Proper identity comes from the impartation of your heavenly Father speaking to the deepest parts of you, whether it’s through personal encounter with Him or through the people He’s assigned to give oversight to you. My prayer is that you would know that when God looks at you, He sees the image of the child He loves and delights in.
When you understand this, your actions become an expression of who you are instead of the other way around, and it’s amazing how much more you’ll enjoy what you do.
What Are You Doing?
Today take inventory on how fulfilled you’re feeling in life. If you feel like you’ve been operating and working for identity, instead of from it, then maybe it’s time to hit the pause button. We all need a recalibration every now and then. If you’ve partnered with striving, a survival mentality, or maybe even a crash in your self-esteem recently, that’s a good sign that you’re finding your source in what you do instead of who you are.
Remember, you are a child of the living King! Your daddy rules the world and as His son or daughter you have access to all of His riches! He wants to lavish you with His love today, and empower you to live in the abundance He promised you in John 10:10!
Have you experienced life as a “human doing” vs. a “human being”? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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