Identity and Worth

So much of our identity these days seems to be wrapped up in what we do. In either our jobs or the ministry we are involved in, even the roles we are in can be used to shape our identity. What is one of the first questions that we ask someone when meeting them? “What do you do?” As if what we do is what determines our identity or defines who we are.
This is something I struggle with regularly. When I make a mistake or fail at something, I get discouraged and feel like I am no longer valuable or worthy. My identity and worth gets wrapped up in how I perform or act. I think this stems back to growing up in a conservative Baptist home and growing up on the mission field and being a missionary kid. During our furloughs, we would travel around to supporting churches to report on my parents’ ministry and the idea came across to me that I had to behave and to be a certain way to be acceptable and to not make things difficult for my parents. I don’t think I was ever actually told this (my parents would be appalled to think that I thought this) but that was the impression I had as a young child. Then I went to a conservative college with a lot of rules and my early impressions continued. My behavior determined my worth.
I know intellectually this is not true. My worth is totally based on God and His view of me. Because of His love and Christ’s death, I am a worthy person, a child of God, loved not based on my performance but on Christ’s work on my behalf. Nothing I do or say can change that. But early impressions often live on into adult years and I must fight against the idea that my worth and identity are wrapped up in what I do or how I act.
God has brought me so far. The unconditional love that I receive from my husband has helped me to better grasp God’s unconditional love for me. God is the One who made me and He accepts me, not based on anything that I can do for Him. The freedom in that is refreshing and exhilarating!

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2 thoughts on “Identity and Worth

  1. Good post. I don't work a job at the moment. Haven't for 3 yrs. Recently I was at a church event where we did not know anyone. I was asked about my job. Response…Uh, I don't have a job. Then they asked about my kids. Uh, I don't have kids. Awkward silence. Without a job or kids, I guess I have no identity!!

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  2. I know, it's amazing how much that has become a part of our culture! I have to battle this and remember that my job is NOT my identity. Cultural perceptions make that difficult to remember.

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