ACW

ACW

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

You are not what you do By Claire Musters



It’s often the very first question after we’ve been introduced to someone: ‘So, what do you do?’ That perpetuates the tendency we often have to link who we are with what we do. And yet we are so much more than our jobs…

As writers, we can find that we are squeezing time to create in between our paid day jobs, which can, in a sense, make our writing much more closely linked to our identity. After all, we do it because we HAVE to don’t we?

And yet, a series of events and experiences in recent months has reminded me that I am not what I do – that my identity needs to be 100 per cent fixed on who I am in Christ, otherwise I will be shaken.

You see, God opened some doors of opportunity for me. I didn’t look for them – they were very definitely a gift from Him. I was really taken aback, and grateful, as they were all writing jobs.

Then circumstances beyond my control changed, and one of the jobs shifted significantly in a way that, to me, seemed to undermine who I was. My immediate response was to feel anxious and unsure of myself (even though I had just realised that ‘adventure’ really WAS the word God was giving me for the year). I questioned, and also felt defensive – worried that my reputation could be affected even though it had nothing to do with me.

God then spoke clearly to me about how, yet again, I was clinging onto roles – albeit legitimate ones – rather than Him to define who I am. I felt the challenge to let go and trust Him for what I would be doing workwise day by day.

God was incredibly gracious and confirmed that to me through words spoken by people I had only just met and therefore didn’t know my situation at all.


It is often really hard not to equate who we are with what we do for the majority of hours each day, or what we do in our spare time out of huge passion and love. And yet this New Year started for me with a reminder to keep my eyes firmly fixed on God alone as my source of security and identity. Yes it’s a lesson He has taught me many times before, but I know I need to keep being reminded of it – and I suspect that is true of many of us.

Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. She is currently Premier Christianity magazine’s freelance news and features journalist. Claire’s books include Taking off the mask: daring to be the person God created you to be, Cover to Cover: 1–3 John Walking in the truth, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart, Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict, Insight Into Self-acceptance, Insight Into Burnout and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

6 comments:

  1. This is so true, Claire. The inevitable question when you meet anyone is 'what do you do?' I am always reminded of an old church leader who said 'we are human beings, not human doings!' So true.

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    1. Yes that's a great line - but we so easily fall back into the trap of basing our sense of self on what we do. Although having a sense of purpose in what we do is important, it shouldn't rule our identity...

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  2. Thank you for the timely blog, Claire. Having made a huge change in my working life recently, I sometimes find myself wondering how I am now meant to serve God. You remind me that my work - while a very important part of my life - was not the personification of ME, and that my service is not dependent on any one identifiable role. I will now go and ponder further over a cup of coffee.

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    1. Ah so glad you found it helpful :) You may an important point too - that our service to God is not dependent on just one role. I think I'll ponder that thought further ;)

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  3. Good reminder that who I am is based on my identity in Christ, not on what I do. I really struggled with this when I first became ill and couldn't do all the things I was used to doing. My self esteem took a huge hit. But God has and is teaching me that who I am is found in him and that I can have confidence as a daughter of God.

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