There’s a song…one of me and my husband’s favorites… I won’t sing it for you but it goes like this:
Sometimes it feels like this world’s spinning faster
Than it did in the old days
So naturally we have more natural disasters
From the strain of a fast pace
Sunday was a day of rest
Now it’s one more day for progress
And we can’t slow down
‘Cause more is less
It’s all an endless process
(Mayberry: Rascal Flatts)
It’s an older song but more relevant today than ever before. Every line, hitting the nail on the head. It’s all true. The pace for progress is rapid. The demand for more? It’s astounding. Then you marry that accelerated pace with our habit of using use labels for everything and everyone. I honestly think it’s a way to quickly gauge what a person does. Then, that label somehow indicates what value they bring. It’s nothing, if not practical. Efficient, even.
But what if I told you this tendency has begun to skew our idea of identity?
What I’ve noticed… especially being around so many people in a high performance industry, is the tendency for people to confuse their identity with their career. In other words, many people tend to find their identity in what they DO or what Role they fill, rather than knowing WHO they are in relation to God and the world. We are so conditioned to perform for this world, we forget we have a personal identity that has nothing to do with what we “bring to the table”.
As I thought about this message and how I wanted to share it with y’all, I felt God drop Job in my heart. Honestly, I’ve always kind of skimmed through the book of Job because I don’t love sad stuff and the whole thing is just FULL of sadness and loss. Depressing, really. But, at God’s gentle nudge, I began going over the story again and was amazed when I saw it as a story of identity rather than loss and hardship.
Now, if I read the entire book of Job to y’all, we’d be here for hours…maybe even days! So, I’m going to give the cliff notes version today. I will, however, clip in the first chapter in this episode to give specific context.
Job listens to God and asks for forgiveness. And at the end of the book, it is clear that Job recognizes his identity lies in who God says he is. His identity is a man created BY GOD, in God’s image, for God’s purpose… His identity, really, is subject to his creator. It wasn’t in the wealth or materials. It wasn’t in his title of “most influential man in all the East”. It wasn’t even in the role of husband or father. No. Job was, as we all are…a child of God. Chosen and created by Him.
I’ll wrap up this whole saga by adding that God did restore Job. Not only was he restored but he was blessed with more than he had before…double, in fact! But I imagine one of the greatest gifts taken away from this whole ordeal was Job’s perspective of who he was in relation to God. There is great freedom, I think, in understanding your God-given identity apart from your role, vocation, or performance.
I know this was a long piece to listen through today. But I pray that this story of terribly unexpected events leads you to consider a few things. Is your identity tied up in what you do? If all of your titles were taken; if all of your roles were stripped away…would you know who you are?
Whether you are a stay at home mom, a working professional, or someone who finds themselves in a high performance world —like the entertainment industry… I want to encourage you today. Before you were anything else, you were a chosen child of God. It is the very core of you. And it’s an important distinction. Knowing your identity will keep you grounded in chaos… and it will protect you from fickle opinions in a critical world. Your identity in Christ will give you the freedom that nothing else ever could. Remember that, sweet friends, and savor the peace that follows…