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What defines you?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about what defines you?

Is it your career? The number of projects you’re able to see through. The deadlines you can meet. How well you get along with co-workers and your boss. 

Is it who you know and who knows you? The circle of friends that you have. The number of followers you have on Insta. How many “likes” you average on a given social media post?

Is it your family? How well you and your spouse are getting along. How well your children are “listening and obeying.” Your individual role as a husband or wife, father or mother. 

We’re all naked. 

Huh? What? Yep. You read it right. That’s not a typo. 

All of us deep down are trying to cover ourselves with something, anything really, to cover up our lostness. Our state of confusion and questions about our identity. 

If you resonate with any of this, some comforting news is that you’re not alone. Yep, that’s right. Take a moment and look up at the people around you. It’s OK. I’ll wait. 

That barista behind the counter? Yep, he’s wrestling with his identity. Your children who are remodeling your home without permission? Yep, they’re sweet, but also wrestling with their identity. Your co-workers? Same. That person who is now looking at you, because you’re looking at them? Same. But turn away quickly!

That’s awkward.

Let me share a little bit about how I see this in my life. 

We typically don’t know what we’re defining our lives by until whatever that thing is going unmet. It’s kind of like slapping a lion. 

My struggle is defining my life by what I can accomplish. I feel valuable and confident when I get things done. But, what about when I’m not getting things done? Well, I start to get a little anxious after a little while.

I’m anxious and probably pacing because I feel like I have to produce something to be valuable. It might not seem that way on the outside, especially in the West, where our society is a very results-driven culture, but it’s true.

I find the best insights into the state and condition of my heart and soul when it’s quiet and I’m not producing anything. That’s the best time for me to take inventory of whether my work is a means by which I worship the Lord, or by which I worship myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Accomplishing things are good. In fact, I believe from Genesis 2, that God, in fact, created work. This was before sin (active rebellion or passive indifference to God) entered the world through humanity. 

But, if we try to define our lives by anything else other than God, then we’re like a sailor caught at sea in a terrible storm. We’re tossed to and fro, running from one thing to the next, trying to find something that will give us the peace that we long for. 

The Good News of the Gospel is while we’re lost, dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1), we’re not without hope or rescue. That’s why Christmas is so miraculous! God himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, comes down and brings the peace we were created for in His life, death, and resurrection.

So that what defines you now is no longer the fleeting things of this world, but it’s the one Person that will never change. Let that eternal hope fill you by faith with confidence this season.