Excuse Me, But Do You Validate?
“For in Him we live and move and have Our being.” Acts 17:28
I’ve been a social worker for over twenty years and many times I have said it’s not just a job, it’s who I am. At no time was that more true than when I worked for hospice. I love hospice. A small group of us used to say if you cut us we’d bleed hospice. I poured myself into it for years, and I have the scars from burnout to prove it.
You may know that feeling. You may have a job that fits you like a glove. It’s what you were born to do. Feels good doesn’t it? Until it doesn’t.
There’s a danger in drawing your identity from your work instead of your Creator. For one thing it’s an identity built on shifting sand. Companies go out of business or go bankrupt. They downsize. Sometimes they bring in terrible leaders that make it impossible for you to stay. You could get sick or hurt or burned out and have to leave. You could relocate when your husband gets a transfer or promotion. You are a cog in a machine, important but not irreplaceable. What happens when that validation goes away?
If I can’t do (fill in the blank) then who am I?
That kind of self-doubt gives the enemy a foothold in your spirit that will wreak havoc in every square inch of your life. It sends you scrambling to find meaning and purpose like the old country song says, “in all the wrong places.”
A second danger is that we can easily forget that our job – whatever that is – is a mission field. The skills we use every day are gifts from God given to us with a purpose: to be salt and light to a world without Jesus. That is the higher calling no matter what we do to pay the bills. It is also a reminder that even on days when we feel useless, God is quietly using us in ways we may never know.
It is in the identity of that higher calling that we find the freedom and grace of Christ for our lives.
~No matter what kind of mistakes we make at work and how mad the boss gets, God’s opinion of us never changes. He is never surprised or disappointed by us.
~He delights in us because he knows the finished, perfectly polished, women we will be when he is finished with us.
~Getting our validation from Christ leaves us free to be humble and teachable when we are not slaves to what others may think about us.
~It frees us from the legalism of perfectionism.
~It keeps our perspective in check. In the end it really is just a job.
~Our work may go away but our purpose never does.
~It frees us from the erroneous belief that busyness is next to godliness. You will never read a scripture that says, ‘work harder and know that I am God.’ On the contrary, you will hear him tell you to be still and know him. Commune with him. Hear him.
~Knowing our identity is in Christ gives us a healthy boundary between what we do and who we are. That boundary enables us to live a more balanced life as we understand the importance of play, fellowship, listening to others, and sometimes just being still with Jesus.
Who you are is so much more than what you do. You are a daughter of the King. His uniquely made, uniquely gifted, uniquely placed warrior woman who will be sent off to do battle in many different places in the course of your lifetime. Your tasks may vary, but if you are paying attention and deliberate every day in your walk with the Lord, you will see that the one constant through every battle is the One you serve.
Pray for God to open your eyes to who you are in him. It is a prayer he will be delighted to answer for you. Stay in prayer and in the Word. Protect yourself every day from an enemy who would be tickled pink for you to miss this.
In Him you live, and move and have your being. Now go and live in the grace and freedom of that!
Sherri is a social worker by day and a writer by night. Her debut fiction novel, Sacred Ashes was released last year and is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. More fiction and some non-fiction inspirational books are in the works and she is looking forward to finding God’s purpose for her next fifty years.
About Sacred Ashes:
The man who killed Dani LaClere’s entire family has died in prison after ten years. She expects closure, but her grief is alive and well, and so is her anger at God – and Christians. She plans to deal with it like she always has, by not thinking about it. Easier said than done when she witnesses a murder and becomes the target of a stalker. Her fear escalates as evidence begins to suggest a tie to her family’s murder. When a handsome prison chaplain confirms her suspicions Dani is forced to deal with the pain of her past and a killer she will not see coming.
Purchase Sacred Ashes Here.