In school orientations or club/company introductions, we are often asked to say something about ourselves. The common reply that we give is normally about what we do for a living, for instance, where we live, the number of kids that we have, our interests, etc. We often mistake the “what we do” aspect of ourselves as the answer to “who we are”.
We perceive our career, our status in life, as our own personal identity. I think it’s inevitable for people to attach themselves so personally with what they do, or with their titles in society – a doctor, a lawyer, perhaps. We define ourselves so much based on these external factors that when one day, if we ever lose our career, our family, or whatever possession that “possessed” us, we suffer from the lack of self identity. We feel lost, and insignificant once these things are taken away. No wonder people are always on the look out for new passions in life, hoping it’ll give or restore their self worth/identity.
One of the things I learned from an SFC (Singles For Christ) talk, is on finding what truly defines us, human beings. I learned that it isn’t our career, our status in life, our abilities, or whatever extraordinary talent we have that should be our basis in defining ourselves. Sure, these things are important in self-awareness. How would you know that you’re good in something if not for your fulfilling job, for example. But these things are simply a facet of ourselves. When we say that we are more than ourselves, I’d like to believe that I am more than what I do for a living, my interests, and capabilities.
The only thing that should define us, I believe, is the fact that we are children of God. More than anything else in heaven and in earth, that will always remain to be our self-definition. I think ultimately, other people do not perceive us based on the titles that we have on our name – it’s how we deal with our neighbors, regardless of their place in society.
Dinner talks and group conversations may be about how skilled you are as a doctor… but in the end of every conversation, it’ll always be what kind of doctor (person) you are with people. And maybe that’s how God defines us too, at the end of every day.