“What do you do?”
“What are you up to now?”
Two questions proving that our world confuses what we do with who we are. Two questions proving that in this world our identity matches what we do.
And when you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t like what you’re doing, or wished you did something else, this question becomes one you dread. I know, because I am one of these people.
Growing up I defined myself as a daughter and sister.
In grade school I defined myself by what grade I was in, the sport I played, or the extracurricular activities I was involved in.
In college I defined myself by my major, the school I attended, and my involvement there.
But when I left college, I found myself in a cubicle, working for a non-profit, in a corporate building, and it was culture shock. After being drained at the end of the day because so many people had come into my office at my previous job, now the only person I spent time with each day was me.
And for the first time in my life I hated being defined by what I did.
I was not passionate about what I was doing. I could not see how what I was doing was making an impact (even though many people told me I was). Nobody really knew me. The only people I really talked to each day were the customer service agents on the other end of the phone, as I sorted through the non-profit’s bills. I only saw my “team” members once a week. The non-profit was shifting its identity, and there were growth pains. I was used to a different type of boss. Long story short, this job drained the life out of me. But yes, it did provide tremendously so I stayed.
A year later, after being married and under the support of my husband, I was able to walk away from that position. My boss even told me he had felt the Lord impress on his heart to “release Amy.” (Not in a fire her way, but to let her go because she felt as though she was in a cage). This confirmation encouraged my heart that I was doing the right thing (because it’s in my nature to always seek to do the right thing and sometimes that cripples me). I walked away from something believing God had something else for me.
But that something else has come slower than I thought it would, in a different shape than what I thought it would be. And this has caused me to question many things:
Did I do something wrong to end up here?
Who am I?
Do I have purpose?
Has God forgotten me?
Am I really gifted?
What do I even enjoy?
Why does a job come so easily for them and not for me?
Am I a disappointment?
Am I a loser?
I’m no longer able to hide behind the identities I’ve hid behind for so long.
At a Christian college, in the Christian world, we talk and learn about finding and living in our identity in Christ.
But what about when your learning is tested with your living? When everything around you is screaming “you are what you do!”
And when you don’t think you’re doing much, you don’t think you are much.
And this, this is how the enemy twists the Christian, deceives the Christian, makes the Christian ineffective. He tells us we are nothing in this world. He discourages.
Hesitantly I write this, because I told myself I wouldn’t write about it until I was out of this season. That was over a year and a half ago, and it is where I still find myself, discouraged and tired of fighting to find my identity in Christ. It’s still messy and all over the place in my mind, so how could I ever put it into words?
But I’m coming to accept this season will never end this side of Heaven. Getting a job I love won’t fix my identity issues, because then I’ll still be defining myself by the wrong things. I have a severe heart problem, so the Doctor keeps me in surgery. In this world, I will always have to fight lies for where my identity lies.
But oh, what a day that will be, when God returns to take me to a world where I am defined solely by what He has done and not what I do.