There is a quote from Brennan Manning that reads:
Define yourself as one radically loved by God. This is your true self, every other identity is an illusion.
I’ve always wanted to live in Cape Town. I’ve always wanted to be a successful writer, skip from one cool social event to the next, date lots of boys and have lots of friends. I guess this was the picture I had in my mind of myself and I felt if the reality was something different it minimised my worth.
When I meet new people, they usually ask me what I do, “well,” I say “I run the strategy side of things in a Digital Agency and I’m also a blogger and writer on the side.” The response is often, “wow,” or “cool,” or “that sounds awesome.”
It is AWESOME. It’s really awesome, but what they are doing is sussing you out according to your title and measure of success. What if I had said to them, “I’m a stay at home Mom,” or “a cashier,” would they have thought less of me? Maybe.
We all place our worth and our value in the form of something. We all judge other people based on some kind of system in our heads of cool things and not so cool things about a person. It could be hair, jobs, dress sense, friends, cars or houses.
Take some time to ask yourself the question: what things do you use to create your identity and worth?
Do you define yourself by where you live?
Some people always want to live in the trendy side of town. They like attaching the name of an affluent suburb to their life and identifying with it. Some people like to live in a big city – like Cape Town, or New York or LA and gain their identity from that. Maybe it’s the fact that you live in the arty part of town, or the rough part of town. Where ever you stay don’t let that become who you are.
Do you define yourself by who you hang out with?
It’s the age-old fact – cool by association. If you hang out with people who think that they are cool, then you will often feel that way too. You will probably also judge people on what social circle they run in. Do you sometimes think “awww I don’t know if I like that person” and then find out they are friends with someone famous and think – “maybe I do like them”. Don’t rule people out because they are friends with different people, embrace different people and learn from them.
Do you define yourself in your qualifications?
I have 7 MBAs and 2 PHDs – kiddin’ really I don’t. Sometimes we put ourselves through years of unnecessary studying in order to earn the right to speak up and feel proud of ourselves. That doesn’t make sense. You don’t need a degree to be good at a job, to be a good friend or have a successful career. Yes, it helps. But don’t place your identity on a piece of paper.
Do you define yourself in your dress sense?
Just try hanging out with a bunch of fashionistas if you think people don’t do this – they do. People will often judge other people on their outfits, which is a really silly way of evaluating a person. Someone who dresses well isn’t better than someone who doesn’t. Trendy clothes don’t change a broken heart or personal issues.
The only thing of lasting value that we can judge ourselves on is this:
The Bible says,
…God loves you and has chosen you to be His own… – Thessalonians 1:4
God says you are worth while. This means if all your clothes, houses, and friends were to be gone tomorrow, He still says you are great. Don’t let the world around you determine your value. Don’t let material things substitute for real, good things – you, as you are, are chosen.
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