Who you've become > What you've done

Just last week, a few of my friends and I were discussing what things we often connected our identity to. For some, it was achievement in school. For others, it was their job title. For me, it was the projects that I found myself involved with. Somewhere in the depths of my mind, keeping myself busy with unique, creative projects was of such importance that my identity was tied to it.

How did I figure it out? When I wasn't keeping busy with a specific project that I felt warranted other people's praise or attention, I felt like a lesser version of myself. This realization yielded two truths that I found to be quite interesting and insightful.

 

1. Our idols are often found in the extreme versions of our God-given strengths

Despite what you might be told (or tell yourself), we're each born with aptitudes and strengths.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
— 1 Peter 4:10

They won't all be the same or even feel fair or equal. Some are given strengths that will land them in the spotlight, others will orchestrate events from behind the curtain and still more will listen from the audience. But despite the form that your strength takes, the audience is no less important than the performer.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
— 1 Corinthians 12:17-20

Whatever your strength may be, because you're naturally gifted in that area, it's a hop, skip and a jump away from becoming an idol. Be aware of your natural inclinations and make a conscious effort to put God first in all things. By His power and for His glory, you were given a gift. Staying humble in that recognition is of utmost importance to maintaining a Godly perspective on your life on this earth.

 

2. Tombstone > Resume

A friend of mine recently spoke on the topic of "How to be the coolest person at your funeral." His premise was that it's easy to become so wrapped up in our achievements in the present that we forget to pay attention to how we are shaping ourselves in the long-term. The truth is, our character = a good decision X time. At our funeral, what will be said in our eulogy? What will be engraved on our tombstone? What will be whispered about and remembered? No doubt, it will be the manner in which we lived our life, from the world-changing projects we were a part of to the way we treated the waitress.

Are we living a story worth retelling?

At the Catalyst Conference, Brad Lomenick remarked, "Who you are becoming is way more important than what you're currently doing." This has been a truth I have had to drill into my head and my heart. Understanding that I can be involved in ridiculously cool projects but that my identity is not found in them is a tough balance to strike. But the promise of that balance is an identity in Christ. One of unconditional belonging and invaluable worth... no matter what I'm currently doing.