A typical conversation when meeting someone tends to go like this:
Person A: Hey. What’s your name?
Person B: _____. You?
A: _____. Tell me about yourself.
B: I am a _______…
This is where our conversations can often go down the wrong path as we start describing our jobs, position in life, family situation, etc. But is this the correct response? I recently read a blog by Gary Molander titled “You Are Not Your Ministry.” In this blog I was challenged by the notion that my work, family, past, etc. do not define my identity. As a follower of Christ, my identity should be founded in Him, as a child of God.
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…”
Even as far back as creation we can see this. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image.”
So, where do you place your identity? If it’s not in Christ, your world will easily be shattered when something changes. When these changes occur, your world can collapse leaving you feeling lost and with less identity than when you began.
This has been something I’ve struggled with over the past couple of years. I went to college for film, and that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Even more, I thought that’s what God was calling me to. It seemed like that was the path He was leading me on as jobs on movies, mostly independent, opened up with little to no effort on my part. In September of 2011 I was hired to work on two union productions in Baton Rouge under a very prominent sound mixer in the industry. Here I was, barely a year out of college, with 3 independent feature length films and 2 independent short films under my belt, in the union, and catching, what I thought was, my big break into the industry. Then, toward the end of the first production, the news came. He had decided not to use me for the next production. I was devastated. But, I picked myself up and kept going. Over the next 5-6 months I submitted what little of a resume I had to any and all productions in the area, and even some in Shreveport. Not once did I get a call. I worked at a popcorn store to barely make ends meet, which made the situation even worse. It hurt. It hurt my pride. It hurt when people asked what film I was working on next. It hurt when I ran into or received phone calls from friends in the industry asking how work was going. All I could say was, “I’m working at a popcorn store in the mall.”
That’s been a year and a half ago, and I’d be lying if I told you that I still didn’t struggle with this. Because I do! There are days when I struggle with sitting at a desk all day instead of being on my feet running around set constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and enjoy the opportunities God has bless me with. I know it’s petty, but every time I drive through Baton Rouge I have to really guard myself from negative thoughts as I remember that awesome month I had, and the two more I should have had.
I tell you this story not for pity or for you to feel sorry for me not achieving my dream, but to give you a real life example of the dangers of placing your identity in something that doesn’t pan out.
As I was discussing my ideas for this blog with Pastor Dustin he asked me, “Why do you think this is a struggle for us? Why do we place our identity in things other than Jesus?” I think it is easier for us to place our identity in something we can see, something we can feel, a job or task we do every singe day than it is to find identity in someone we can’t actually see or touch. You may be asking, “Why is this dangerous?” To be simple, this is idolatry, and, as we place our identity in something other than Christ, we are not giving Him the worship, glory, and honor He deserves.
Situations change. Friends come and go. You might change positions, jobs, or even careers. But, as we see several times in Scripture, God will “never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Hebrews 13:5) and He is “with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
No matter what situations change in life we will always be a child of God. So, place your identity in the only constant in our ever-changing world.