Rethinking the Source of Our Identity

Who or what defines you? It might be a significant other, a friendship, a particular talent or career.

I realized several months ago how much I identify myself by my career choice. I felt the truth of it when I began telling people that journalism was my life.

As a journalism major who was simultaneously working two different journalism-related jobs, it was hard not to make that my life. I had little time for much else.

My identity was based on how many top stories I was assigned and how many comments those stories received online. I found myself getting caught up in how quickly I could produce content compared to others. My goal was to be the best.

As a result, I noticed that my relationship with God was neglected because I was putting my worth in something else.

Since realizing this, I learned to remind myself that my true audience is an audience of one — my Father in heaven. I am responsible first and foremost to God for the way I use the gifts He has given me. I strive to use them with humility and in such a way that God is glorified through what I do.

My passion for journalism is one of the major parts of my life, but the core of my identity is who I am in Christ. My career choice and my list of accomplishments are not bigger than Jesus, and I need to humble myself with that reality from time to time.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you (Romans 12:3).

Are you defined by what you do instead of who you are? Where is Christ in your identity?

Instead of looking for our self-worth in what we do, we should be looking for our self-worth in Christ. God values us so much as individuals that He sent His only Son to die for us (John 3:16).

We spend so much time identifying what we have accomplished instead of realizing that those things were accomplished through the grace of God, who chose to bless us with certain gifts and abilities (Romans 12:6). It’s fine to be pleased about what we have done, but we should not place our worth in those things.

Several years ago Jonathan Dodson wrote an article for Boundless called ”How Should We Then Work?”. Something he wrote addresses this topic perfectly:

Finding our worth in our work, however excellent, ethical, evangelistic, or theologically integrative, is spiritual suicide. Willy Loman built his worth on his work, its failure and success. Acceptance by others and significance based on their perception of our work does not satisfy. In fact, it displaces Jesus from his rightful place as our Lord.

I don’t want my work to define me. I want to be defined as a woman who is chasing the passions God placed in my heart. I want to be defined as someone who walks in humility and follows the call of God.

Journalism should be a part of my life, but it shouldn’t be my whole life. What happens if God decides to direct my life down a completely different path? Will I be so attached to journalism that I will resist other opportunities God may offer? I hope not.

I want my worth in Christ to be placed above my worth in anything else. I am so incredibly blessed by God, but I don’t want to become lost in those blessings. I need to remember that it is by His grace alone I am where I am today.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth (Psalm 115:1).

I urge you not to let your identity in Christ get lost in the shuffle this summer. No matter how long your list of accomplishments, remember to put your worth in Christ first. Take time to praise God for whatever stage of life He has you in, and be open to the opportunities He has planned for your future.