Who You Are

Today’s devotional by Holley Gerth reminds us it’s not what  you do but who you are that really matters.


We can be a career-obsessed culture. Stand around long enough at any gathering where you don’t know everyone and you’ll be asked, “So, what do you do?” Frequently it’s even thefirst question posed when meeting someone. {In case you didn’t know, this is oddly American. Most other cultures don’t start with your job. They start with who you are. Your family. Your friends. What you love.}

Maybe that’s one reason why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do equals who we are. We define ourselves by titles {manager, artist, stay-home-mom} and by the roles that go with them {employee, Etsy shop owner, mother}. Then when something changes {the company closes, the art doesn’t sell, the kids grow up} we despair.

“Who am I now?” we ask.

We also experience a lot of fear if it even seems like that might happen.

“Who would I be without this?” we question.

I thought about this as I drove home the other day from a writing session at a coffee shop. I have a deadline coming up and it’s scaring me silly. Because I’m afraid if I fail then I might have to stop writing and without writing it feels like I might not know who I am.

I whispered a prayer for help and one simple statement flashed into my mind: What you do is not your identity. It’s your assignment.


I knew that but somehow it got buried under stacks of “what ifs” and worries. Immediately I could feel my shoulders relax and I let out a big sigh of relief. Because I remembered this too: As long as I’m on earth God will find a way for me to be useful. I saw that in the life of my 93 year-old Grandpa who went home to heaven last summer. I see it in women like Barbara Beskind, a 90 year-old designer for the tech company Ideo. I watch it in the lives of others around me who continue to contribute despite significant alterations in their circumstances.

We usually have one what but over a lifetime the how will change a lot. For example, one woman’s “what” might be encouraging. She might primarily do that for friends in high school, for her team at work in her twenties, for her kids as a mom in her thirties, for her Bible study for her church in her forties, for her classmates when she goes back to school in her fifties, for her employees in her sixties, for her neighbors in her seventies…and so on until God decides it’s time for her to go Home.

None of those are about a job or career…even if they involve a business or specific title. 

Our culture may be work-focused but thankfully God isn’t.

He isn’t like that stranger at a party asking, “So, what do you do?”

Instead He’s posing a far more important question, “Who have I made you?”

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He’ll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life.”


(c)2015 Holley Gerth  Used with Permission http://holleygerth.com/good-news-worth-work/


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