Who We Are versus What We Do?
I feel like I have written on this subject before but I am coming at the subject from a different angle in this post. The first time I wrote on the subject I was thinking about how much who we are is wrapped up in what we do for a living. I was struggling with how much of my identity was wrapped into what I did for a living when I thought it was more based on who I was as a man.
This time I am thinking about how, or if, we can separate what we do from who we are? I see people who act differently based on the company they keep to “fit in”. Then, when challenged concerning the way they are behaving respond defensively thinking “I was just fitting in but that isn’t how I really am”. Can that be true or even possible?
We like to think we can compartmentalize our lives, especially men. When we are with our family we act a given way and may even get a little angry when we run into a group of men acting in, what we would call, an irresponsible manner. However, when we are out with “the boys” and are challenged to act better because a family is present we get angry and want to retaliate. Or, how we act at church on Sunday is vastly different from how we would act on Saturday night, at the bar, watching sports with our friends. Why do we think this variation in character is acceptable?
We find it acceptable because we believe there is a base upon which we stand that won’t change, that defines who we really are at our core. Oh, yeah? Has your base changed when it comes to recreational drug use, same-sex relationships, transgender individuals or transvestites? Has your base shifted on pre-marital sex, war or politics? Has your “this is right and this is wrong” stance changed? Don’t be fooled into thinking you are not how you act.
I am not standing on a soapbox asking you to look to me as an example. I struggle with the same issues and fail to maintain my base just like everybody else. I am far from perfect.
The one difference is that my base cannot change as it is has been established, before time began, by the one and only perfect God. If I waiver it is not because the base has changed but because I have left the base to stand on a far more temporary structure which may crumble at any moment. I am only saved through God’s grace and His willingness to put me back on the base which He alone has established and controls. I pray to this God to provide the strength I need to stand and demonstrate a stability that only comes from my faith in Him. I know, in time, I will be ridiculed and maybe even harmed for standing on His base but I know He will provide the necessary fortitude to prevail in the face of persecution.
I challenge those who believe that who they are, at their core, is not influenced by what they do. Can’t be.