Hi… I’m a work in progress… who are you?
As part of my work with guys in men’s group, I’ve recently conducted an informal survey, of sorts, to hear the response when asking the question “… can you tell me about yourself?” Given the chance to provide anything at all about who they were as an individual, almost immediately, without hesitation, the response usually started with their job first, followed by their education, and/or their accomplishments. These men seem confident in what they do, but their response seemed to lack who they were. And this response isn’t reserved for men only… women, too, seem to identify themselves closely with “the title”… there was rarely hesitation in their responses… what they did, defined who they were… Was this really the goal? A job or degree??
The secular world has done a great job at conditioning us from when we were very young to begin the process of building our personal resume. In my opinion, there seems to be more of a pride issue going on when it comes to building that resume… after all, isn’t that what impresses others and helps to get jobs? How long and comprehensive our resume is? As adults, we get caught up in this push for the top, but, sadly, many of us are raising our children to do the same. Specifically, we want our children to go to the best schools, earn the highest grades and assessment scores, they are usually expected to excel in a sport or other trophy- or ribbon-granting activity to display for the world to see. And then after school, we typically encourage them to follow a great career path that will have great monetary consequences. This will, in turn, allow them to purchase material things that help them to identify themselves as successful… or will it? Is this really who our children are? What they’ve become?
Don’t get me wrong… there isn’t anything wrong with accomplishments based on education, career, sports, etc., but when we begin to believe the lies surrounding what we do, this can lead to an unfulfilled life of dissatisfaction at the deepest level regarding our true identify. Ultimately, this leads to a life of ongoing searching for significance. And usually, when there’s a distortion of something that, on the surface, isn’t bad, the enemy is usually close by. Satan and his demons use worldly things and our flesh against us… to draw us away from God’s purpose for our lives… to convince us that we have significance by way of our performance and the things that others say about us… having us believe that we need to meet some outside standard or level of expectation in order to feel worthy about ourselves… completely contradictory to God’s plan about who we are as individuals…
God’s word speaks to who we are in His eyes… that “…you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:10). In this one verse, God reveals His beautiful plan for our lives. The verse doesn’t say you will become God’s workmanship once you achieve some promotion or get another degree, Paul’s words are speaking fact here… reality… you are God’s workmanship… a truth to be sought after and believed. But what does it mean to be “God’s workmanship”? When I hear these words I immediately think of an artisan… someone who can see beauty in something raw and unfinished. Just as an artisan creates beauty out of raw material, God’s ability to see beauty in us amazes me… that He continuously “chips away” to unfold unrecognized beauty in all of us!
As humans, as Christ followers, we belong to the King of kings. Our destiny, our eternal home has already been prepared for us. It is guaranteed not by what we do or what we become, but by who we are in the eyes of our Father. As we believe in who we are and allow the Holy Spirit to move through us and with us, we unknowingly fulfill our earthly purpose in His power, not our own. So, if you’re ever asked who you are, perhaps the best response is that we are a work in progress, with the goal of being something beautiful and magnificent in the eyes of our Father!