Much of what I’ve written on this blog centers around my faith in God, work and work-related issues, those two interact on a daily basis. I finally realizes today how to summarize this feeling I have when I speak to people about what I do (hence the name of this blog).

My biggest disappointment is talking to people who either size me up or pigeonhole me by what I do for an occupation. This is truly the crux of what I’ve been struggling with since this blog’s inception.

What I do for a living does not summarize who I am; my job title does not define me.

In my opinion, there is far too much missing from my life if I were to simply define myself through my work. Even if I held a grand position, I still think it would only capture a small portion of who I am. Such is the predicament that I think a lot of people fall into (some might not consider it in this light): we live for our work, and our work defines us.

What happens when we are unemployed? Does that mean we no longer have any essence to our being? Does it mean that we no longer exist as a contribution to our community? Does it mean that we are no longer parents or spouses, with a service to each other?

Of course the questions above are rhetorical. No one is truly defined by their work. And even though work tends to be one of the first things we talk about at parties or first encounters (hence the name of this blog), I’ve made a conscious effort to make this an aside, rather than a primary question of a conversation. What lies behind a person is not necessarily the work that he/she does, but a constellation of experiences, activities, hobbies, loves, hates, travel, education, sports, dreams and pursuits that can’t simply be captured in one title. We owe it to the person we’re talking to to not summarize their lives with the question, “What do you do?” but to inquire more about who they are as a person.

Ever try Twitter, the micro-blogging service? It’s a Website that allow you to post 180 words to summarize what’s happening right now. Led by the question, “What are you doing now?” you can update from just about anywhere, with very brief descriptions about your current state. This is probably what we try to do when we answer the question, “What do you do?” Do we not try to describe ourselves through our work, so that as briefly as possible, we offer a “tweet” about who we are?

However, if you’ve ever used Twitter (and it’s an amazing service!!), you’ll find that you run short of space in your descriptions. Often you say things as concisely as possible, but still can’t distill everything into a 180-word “tweet.” And this is the same problem we have about describing who we are, for of course, who we are is not the same as what we do for a living.

If there’s one thing in my life that I want to define myself by, it’s Jesus Christ. If God is my firm foundation, I want to be built upwards from that foundation. Much of my discouragement comes from worrying about what might happen in the future, or what has happened in the past. But if I’m surrendered to God, then I’d want to be fully available to God for “the here and now.” It’ not about tomorrow or yesterday, but about being with God today, right now.

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