Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try to find purpose in your career or work, that you’re still left feeling empty? I’ve noticed that our whole society is struggling with a major identity crisis. Most people don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives. It’s hard when we go from the pressures of picking a major in college, to choosing the “right” career path, to finding the “perfect” job, and in the end we’re spinning our wheels to find undiscovered meaning.
The underlying message in these decisions is that finding our life purpose and mission is in what we choose to do with our lives. The idea of discovering our calling isn’t a bad one, but the breakdown in truth happens when we define our success by what we do, not who we are.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
In my book, Supernatural Ways of Royalty, I share a story about a long plane ride I took a while back. I sat next to a young college student. I asked him what he wanted to do with his life, and he replied that he wanted to be an attorney. God gave me insight into this young man’s calling, showing me that he would not be a good attorney since his value for relationships was much higher than his value for justice.
I said, “The first time you get into court and have to attack someone’s character to make your case, you’re not going to sleep at night.” He perked up and agreed.
As God gave me more insight about his unique gift mix as he was both creative and organized, I told him he would make an amazing movie director.
He almost jumped out of his seat. “I have always wanted to be a director, and I was the head of my drama class in high school!”
“That’s what you need to do with your life,” I told him. ”You’re the next Steven Spielberg!”
We have to be human beings before we are human doings. When we try to “do” something without first “being” someone, we find ourselves making a living at a job we hate. Or we gain our self worth from what we do. This works when we perform well, but if we fail at something, our self esteem goes down the drain along with our confidence and joy.
IDENTITY IS AN IMPARTATION
Identity is not about what we do, but about who we are. How are we answering our heart cries to know this? Is it from the number on our paychecks or the amount of “likes” on our last Facebook post? Perhaps it’s even tied to the success of our children’s lives?
Proper identity comes from the impartation of our heavenly Father speaking to the deepest parts of us, whether it’s through personal encounter with Him or through the people He’s assigned to give oversight to us. My prayer is that we would know that when God looks at us, He sees the image of the Son He loves and delights in. When we understand this, our actions become an expression of who we are instead of the other way around, and it’s amazing how much more we enjoy what we do.