The following article is by guest writer Vip Vipperman.
In the midst of this global crisis, do you feel that your identity is under siege? Some businesses are thriving, while others are shutting down. Some sales production levels are skyrocketing, while others are going down. Some employees are getting hired, while others are unexpectedly losing jobs. Roles are changing or getting stacked up as many help with the education of school-aged children on top of other things like increased workloads due to mass layoffs.
Never before in our current history have our identities been challenged in this way. So how will we respond?
We remember that our core identity as a believer is a child of God, which always remains the same. Our jobs, our roles, or the lack of, do not define us, but rather Who we belong to defines us.
False Identities Rooted in Production: A Biblical Example
Let’s take a look in Genesis 29-30, at the story of two people, Leah and Rachel, who are both married to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. The two women found themselves in fierce competition for the love and attention of their husband and to have his children. In the historical context, their roles were limited to that of a wife and mother. So, their identities were completely wrapped up in those roles. You might even say that the number of children they had was the modern-day equivalent to their production levels or sales numbers. Their identities became focused around their ability to have children because they believed that having more sons would lead to increased acceptance and value. (i.e., a high production level = increased recognition and acceptance)
Often, the names of the sons would even show what they were feeling painting a picture of the pressure they were under and the tension from the comparison. At one point, Leah, having three sons already, takes a moment and decides to name the fourth son Judah, which means “praise,” because she wants to stop focusing on competing and just praise the Lord. For a moment, she recognized that the acceptance and recognition of the Lord were infinitely more important than the acceptance and recognition of Jacob.
Finding our True Identity
So, what do these two women in the Middle East thousands of years ago have to do with you and me?
Anyone in business seeks to produce more. To hit sales quotas. To sign a new client. To accomplish more. Often, this is so they will be recognized by their boss, company, or other industry leaders, as well as earn promotions and further their career opportunities. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our production that our identity is found in how much we produce, especially as it compares to others. We strive to succeed, believing that if we produce enough, then we will get the recognition we deserve from those we are trying to please.
Our identity should instead be that of a beloved one who praises the Lord because He is good. With that core identity in place, we don’t have to rely on our production levels to define us.
At the end of the Biblical story, God remembers Rachel, who was previously without children, and gave her the joy of producing two. He always remembers His children and loves to bless them. Get identity right, and the other things fall into place, not always easily or without hardship or how you would expect, but in the right place.
So, take a few minutes this week as the pressure to produce increases, and your ability is tested by the current economic and distance challenges to answer these simple but powerful questions and evaluate whether your identity is grounded in truth. (Some example answers are in parentheses.)
- Who am I? (A child of God, chosen, accepted and forgiven)
- Why am I here? (To glorify God, love and serve others and obey His Word)
- What is my purpose? (To use my gifts and talents from God to glorify Him, to love and serve others and to bring others to Him)
- What is my responsibility? (To meet with God, do His will daily and care for my body and my family)
- How will I act? What values will I live by? (To work with excellence in whatever role He has given me, to operate in love and service, to live with integrity and create value for others.)
- What will I do? What plans do I have? (Meet with God daily, engage my family, take care of my body, serve my neighbor in the ways God shows me and do any roles I have with excellence unto the Lord)
- What will I not do? (Worry, doubt, fear, jump ship, give up, freak out or disrespect others)
Your answers may be different from mine, but if they aren’t lining up with Biblical truth, then consider re-evaluating how you are currently viewing your identity. Ask the hard questions, and make sure your identity is aligned with truth.
Please, friends, don’t let this current crisis make you forget your identity as God’s chosen child. This battle is too important to be taken lightly or ignored.
Vip Vipperman is a bilingual business leader with a successful track record in the U.S. and internationally. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of Lion’s Den in Dallas, a non-profit organization that seeks to bring faith-oriented investors and entrepreneurs together to build great companies. Recently, Vip initiated the effort to bring Lion’s Den to Silicon Valley.