What I do does not define me. Or does it? Hmmmmm…..  I have been hanging out just this side of RESTLESS lately.  Understatement of the millennium. Not only have I been getting less rest, I have been fighting off a nasty cold (by cold I mean identity crisis). I keep repeating to myself, “What I do does not define me.”  OK- Then what does?  I don’t ever remember knowing. I mean, I know that my identity is supposed to come from God. Or I am supposed to find my identity in Him.  I am just not sure I have ever found it. I feel like I know where God is………

Let’s break it down:

I am female, woman.  There is a bunch of stuff that just comes bundled inside of that. Like…. the tendency to work things out in relationship. Like…. the desire to care for things and people. Like…. self-image issues that work overtime and change shape with the lighting.  Pretty sure this technically makes me a minority too. 

I am also thirty-something. What is that supposed to look like? Should I be finished college and enjoying the career of my dreams? Should I be married with 2.5 kids? Should I own my own home and have a well-rounded portfolio? (Incidentally, I have NONE of those and I keep asking myself these same questions over and over like opening the refrigerator over and over, hoping something different will be in there if I open the door just one more time.)

I am also divorced. I am in the 50th percentile of all married couples in the world (could I be considered “international”?). In terms of a package-deal, this package spontaneously changes weight.

Let’s talk about some things that I DO:

I “used to” go to work every day at the church. I found a great deal of my identity in that, which I have heard is called a performance mentality. Since I am no longer performing in that capacity, that brings us to HERE. OK- What I DO….. I do laundry (mine & his); I cook; I clean & organize the house; I feed dogs & cats; I wait (for him, for them, for things that aren’t coming, for something to happen, or not happen); I listen; I encourage; I wonder and dream; I scrutinize and ponder. I drive back and forth. I spend money I did not earn. I spend money I did earn. I hope (even when everyone else has stopped). I plan (for things that are real and for things that very likely fall into the category of ‘vain imaginations’)- nonetheless, I plan away.

Okay- I think I am getting nearer to my actual question…. not there yet, but it feels near….

Does what I do change who I am?

Or does who I am change according to what I do?

No, wait, that’s the same question. Does what I do dictate who I am? Or does who I am dictate what I do?

Would Mother Teresa have been who she was if she didn’t do what she did?

Right now, today, what If wait tables? Or tend bar? Who am I?

What if I open my own business and it becomes a raging success? Who am I now?

What if I volunteer my days at St. Jude’s and smoke pot every night? Who does that make me?

Does the “doing” the woman make? Or does one do what they do because of who they are?

What if I am just a dreamer who can’t “get it together” in such a way that dreams will eventually become reality?  What if I am where I am, and I do what I do because that is all there is to me?  Please, no.

Some days I am sure that I am amazing.  Not loved for the things that I do or have done, but because you too believe that the way I breathe in and out is simply amazing.

 And some days… I do not feel that I have any discernible value whatsoever. Pathetic, isn’t it? Maybe that’s the thing, the key.  I have left some some space in my mind or my spirit somewhere for this kind of thinking to creep in and convince me it’s true. I have allowed this person or that person to be in relationship with me for what I DO for them rather than purely for who I am.  

(I just remembered that I have not made the list of things that I know how to do, but do not do regularly)

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Value, identity, doing vs. being…. what you do to battle this kind of thinking… thanks so much.



  1. Pamela said,

    12 August, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Hmmmm. Pretty heavy stuff for 10:00 on a Monday night. I’ll have to sleep on it and try to digest this one for a little while. I’ll be here in the morning, though, drinking coffee and hoping you’ll show up so we can tawlk amongst ahselves.

  2. nrwe said,

    12 August, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I actually wrote this around 5pm – BEFORE WOW – timely, right? Tomorrow I will post the update (download) I got this evening. C U at coffee.

  3. Wendy said,

    12 August, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Good, but pretty heavy “food” for thought. Unfortunately, there is no diet for such “food” – and while this reality seems harsh to me, I am pretty much going through same process, unfortunately I’m not thirty-something, so does that make me way behind what ever unimaginable schedule life has for me? I seem to always be switching between doing and being – what I do does define me in some ways, but being tends to define me as well. (Or maybe not)

    Most people seem to think that at 53 you should know who you are and what defines you (like I give a poop what most people think) but one thing I have discovered at 53 is I am not like most people, actually I’m not like any one else – 53 yrs old or not. (thank God)

    Does not knowing what defines me, make me less valuable as a person? I think not. (the opinion of just 1) My somewhat irrational thought process believes that by not knowing what defines me, only makes me more flexible and accepting of the new and unknown. (Sounds good anyway) But, then there are the days when I am strongly convinced I am just absolutely crazy for not knowing. (talk about pathetic)

    At this moment I am doing – working, thinking, processing – or maybe I am just being – a worker, a woman, a friend – or maybe I just have a good case of MPD! (which would make this process a lot easier)

    Whatever it is that defines me will probably not be decided by the end of the day or possible even by the end of my life which only makes me more flexible and accepting of the new and unknown. (Sounds good anyway)

    So for today my conclusion is that I am in Christ and He is in me – and my identiy is in Him whether I am doing or being. (Does that even make sense?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: