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Identity

You have reasons to worry. You have better reasons to stop!

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You have plenty of reasons to worry

This post is not going to persuade you to think you have nothing to worry about. Of course you do! Daily we find ourselves plagued with worry.

-       Will I ever have enough money?

-       Will I ever get my dream home?

-       Will I succeed in my job?

-       Will I get a decent job?

-       Will we win the game?

-       How am I going to pay for college?

-       Will I ever find the one?

-       Will my kids turn out ok?

-       Do I have any real friends?

-       What about my health?

Each new question raises two, then four (and so on) new questions in its place. It is a never-ending cycle that can easily lead to terrible decisions and/or depression.

There is always going to be something to worry about. This worry will ruin your health, your money, you relationships, and your achievements, if you let it.

So why do we do it? Because we lack control. We will never be able to take control of these issues and questions. This is why we worry. We worry about the control we will never have. Life is uncertain, and so we worry.

“Worry assumes the possibility of control over the uncontrollable. The illusion of control lurks inside your anxiety. Anxiety and control are two sides of the same coin. When we can’t control something, we worry.” – David Pawlison, author of Seeing with New Eyes

You have better reasons not to worry

 You can let go of the control. You can live in the moment and make decisions with wisdom about your future, but recognize that you ultimately don’t have control over it. Your retirement or 401k may disappear when the market crashes. When all is said and done, what or whom do you put your trust in? If you are trusting in yourself to control all the problems and challenges that come your way, you will regrettably fail. You are only human and limited by nature. I am a Christian. I decided (and have to remind myself daily) to trust that my Creator has a bigger purpose in everything.

Read Luke 12:22-34

This next section is a direct quote from an amazing book by David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes

There are 7 reasons to not worry:

1.     Your life is so much more than food or clothing.

2.     Jesus tells people to look around the world.

look at the crows, they eat just fine

3.     Which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

4.     “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.”

wild, beautiful, and without much

5.     Don’t seek what you are going to eat and drink.

watch out for obsession, are you doing it because everyone else is?

6.     God promises you…Himself.

most significant of all – its God’s world so life works the way He says it does

7. Having given you so much, your Father calls you to the radical freedom of giving your life away.

we are afraid of losing what we have and will get. We desire only a life of comfort and leisure not purpose. Jesus gave Himself; we should do our best to give as well

You will experience anxiety. It is part of the human condition. Nothing is safe or for certain.

You need a game plan (here it is):

1.     Name the fear/pressure or what drives the anxiety

2.     Name how you normally respond to that fear/anxiety

3.     Ask yourself why are you feeling fear/anxiety

4.     Read Jesus promises from the list above

5.     Pray to your Father. (This is the easiest one)

6.     Give (do something for someone else)

You may be overwhelmed. You may even be overwhelmed reading this post. Do what Jesus did and give yourself to something bigger or different then your problem.

 

 

Identity Crisis: To Be or To Do?

“To be or not to be? That is the question.”

– Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1

How do you identify yourself? By who you are or by what you do? My sense is that on your tombstone one day it will not read: “Here Lies A Waste Management Specialist” or fill in the job title. Unfortunately, we begin most relationships by asking, “What do you do?” Why is that?

“Hi my name is JT. What’s your name? It’s nice to meet you. So, what do you do?”

This simple and very common conversation starter is saying a lot.  We are making inferences about their identity based on what they do not by who they are. A true, authentic relationship cares very little about what a person does.

What is valuable is who the person is.

Think of it like this:

What they do may reveal:

(Caution - most of us are guilty of making these big assumptions)

-       How much influence they have

-       How much power they have

-       How important they are

-       How much money they make

-       How how happy they are

-       What kind of house and neighborhood they can afford

-       What school their kids go to and how smart they will be

-       What kind of parents they are (because of money and house size)

-       What kind of college and eventual job the kids will have

-       Start at the beginning and repeat cycle

We also begin thinking about how they can provide a service for me. What they do for work may benefit me in some way.

Of course we would never consciously think of all this. This is where we all need to be honest and begin asking, “Why don’t we ask who they are rather than what they do?”

I have a “To be” list. This list is a small list of who I am. 

What we do flows out of who we are.

I challenge you to make a “To be” list. Begin to understand who you are before you begin identifying yourself by what you do. This list is in order of priority.

My list:

1. Christian

2. Husband

3. Dad

4. Brother

5. Friend

6. Son

7. Mentor

8. Neighbor

9. Co-worker

10. Son-in-Law

Make your own “to be” list. Now make a list of what you do.  Compare both lists and see if what you do is a reflection of who you are. Chances are that the decisions you make are a reflection of how you see your identity at that moment.

Bad decisions happen when you mix up the order of your “to be” list and begin putting “do” items on your “be” list. 

Depression and lack of confidence can result from identifying ourselves by what we do. This will never be good enough. In contrast, if you want to be a great friend, encourage and remind someone how he or she is doing within his or her true identity.

“You are a wonderful and affectionate mother.”

“You are a good son.”

“You are a mature Christian.”

“You are a kind-hearted mentor.”

“You are a loyal friend.”

“You are a caring co-worker.”

And remember…

“You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis.”

– Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club