The Identity Question

As I’ve said before, my background has defined a lot of my beliefs and opinions.  But, I also have some very wise women pouring into my life, not the least of which is my mom.  After reading my blog post last week, she brought up the very important point that women today find their identity in what they do instead of who they are

Think about it.  When people ask you to tell them about yourself, what’s typically the first thing you say?  “Hi, I’m _______, and I’m a 1st grader teacher.”  So, our job defines us to the utmost.  But is that really the most important part about us?  Yes, it’s what we do to put food on the table, and it may even be something we love to do, but at the end of the day, it’s still a job. 

Many jobs have eternal significance.  An obvious one is pastors.  But other workers, such as teachers or musicians also have a huge influence on the eternal.  But shouldn’t we all, in some way, no matter what we do?  Should our job merely be a job to us, or should it be the means by which we meet people, spread the gospel, and minister to others?  Isn’t the gospel of Christ far more important than anything we could ever do in our jobs?

So, why do we let our jobs define us?  Have you ever met someone who said, “Hi, I’m ______, and I’m a follower of Jesus Christ”?  Probably not.  But shouldn’t that be what defines us the most?

Interestingly, we find our worth in our identity.  Because we hold a job, and perhaps work hard, we feel that we are worth something—that we matter.  I think that a lot of homemakers and stay-at-home moms are afraid to tell others what they do (the hardest, most important job of all!) because they feel that, because they have no job outside of the home, then they have no identity, and, therefore, no worth. 

Furthermore, I think there are a lot of women that feel they could never quit work and stay home with the kids because, somehow, they would lose their identity.  How does changing or quitting jobs in any way change who we are as a person and who we are in Christ?

I feel the pull often.  Right now I kind of float between a million different odd jobs, but no one career.  I get the looks and the pity, because I have no teaching job.  I even feel myself sometimes that my life must be meaningless because I have no full-time, important job.  I can’t tell people, “Hi, I’m Caitlin, and I’m a teacher” because I’m not!

But why should I be ashamed of that?  Truth be told, if I defined myself by what I do I would say, “Hi, I’m Caitlin, and I’m a homemaker, administrative assistant, substitute teacher, blogger, writer, and mystery shopper.”  I work hard everyday.  I don’t bring in a lot of money, but I don’t really need to.  My husband makes a good salary, we own a home, and we are fairly frugal.  I have enough flexibility in my schedule to take my dog for a walk in the afternoon, eat lunch with my husband, work on the house during the week, and have free time to help if someone needs me.  I love what I do each and every day. 

But still, I feel the pull.

Don’t we all feel the pull?  Don’t our days center around our “job”, our “identity”? 

Slowly, steadfastly, He is teaching me that my identity isn’t found in what I do in the big picture.  Instead, it’s found in who I am in Him, and what He calls me to do each day. 

Who am I really?  I’m Caitlin.  I’m passionately in love with my Savior.  I’m a helpmeet to my very best friend.  I’m a daughter of the Most High King.  He created me with a quiet soul and a passionate heart.  He loves me and made me beautiful.  He sent His only son to die for me.  He calls me His child.  He has a huge plan and purpose for my life, and He will lead me through it step-by-step. 

Who am I?  I am His.  My identity is not found in what I do, but who I am in Him. 

This life is not my own, but His.         

3 thoughts on “The Identity Question

  1. I have a hard time resisting that pull too, especially now that I'm almost finished with school. I've never put it into those words, but really what I've been fearing has been loosing my identity if I don't get a job after graduation, and what other people will think of me. My identity is secure in Christ, and whether I work or not really does not determine my successfulness in life.

  2. I can totally relate, Emily! When I first got married, I was still in school too, so it was easy to tell people what I "did". When I finished last December, and felt conflicted about what was next, it got a lot harder. People have a lot of opinions about what they think you should be doing. 🙂

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