Who Are You?

Several months ago I ran across an article written by Bob Goff, author of Love Does, as well as an attorney who founded Restore International, a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda and India. It really came at a profound moment in my life…in particular, this quote:


“I am not an author. Sure, I wrote a book — so, technically speaking, I guess I am an author. But let’s not get technical. What I mean is, what I do isn’t who I am. You know who I am? … Maria’s husband. Lindsey, Richard, and Adam’s dad. I have learned to be very careful how I describe myself, because people do best at what they identify with most… How we identify ourselves is the thing we will become.

If we call ourselves speakers or writers or knife throwers but then some night we do a lousy job of speaking or writing or knife throwing, it’s not just a bad night. It’s an identity crisis.

I’ve chosen to identify myself by Jesus, by my family, and by my friends. Do a great job at your family and you always win. Define yourself by them. When you’re choosing what job to do, remember — it’s not who you are, it’s a day job.”


This was a major AH- HA moment for me.  I have identified myself so closely with being a teacher that when I had a “bad night”….or actually a bad year, it caused a major crisis in my life.  Every observation, every low score I received was a fatal blow to me. Since I thought (and still do) that it was a calling, I felt justified in this thinking.


Yet, after this article, I have a new perspective.  Being a teacher is not really who I am.  Being a Christian, however, IS who I am.  Being a wife to Bryan, a mom to Spencer and Savannah, a friend to some, these are the things for which  I will be remembered.


The students that I hope to have had influence on won’t remember my higher-order thinking questions, or the way I assessed them 3 different ways and increased their reading level.  I DO hope they will remember how I did it, though.  I hope they remember that I treated them kindly, spoke positively about them, and inspired them to keep trying when they wanted to give up.  I hope they remember that I valued them, not the grades that they received.  I hope they remember the laughter, the dancing and the wonderful singing we did together many years from now.  I hope they remember the love.  That is who I want to be. No matter what job or career I find myself in next.


What about you…do you define yourself by what you do?  If not, how do you define yourself outside of work?


7 thoughts on “Who Are You?

  1. Wow, this so resonates with me. How to identify myself – I want to be someone unique but I also know that my most important role is with my family.

  2. Wow! Awesome! I could say so much, but I think you get it! I have noticed a definite attitude change… And love seeing all the smiles and hearing a song in your voice again!😀keep it up… And thanks for the reminder ! It’s always a matter of prospective… We just need to get the right prospective !!

  3. This is a hard lesson to learn and one that does not come easy for most. We identify with what we do, instead of with who we are. This becomes our identity, our circle of friends, and our sphere of influence. Sometimes, it even becomes our lifestyle.

    In fact, many people go through life never asking the question “Who am I”? “Why do I exist”? Instead we pacify ourselves by assuming a role; by the way the English word *actor* is *hypocrite* in Greek. We act as if we are “something” instead of being “someone”.

    Often times we forget, our toil on earth is a byproduct of the fall and is a part of the curse on a fallen world (Genesis 3:17). Our original purpose was to worship God, therefore the redeemed in Christ are not only saved from their sin they are restored to the original purpose for which we were created “to worship God” and to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8).

    Yes, we have roles to play, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, salesperson etc. But we “are”” worshipers; this should be our identity. I am a Christian, worshiping God who happens to be cleverly disguised as a ________.

  4. Great question that I ask myself often. Who am I? And what am I doing? What am I here for? Daily I ask myself these same questions and yet have I found my purpose. I’m praying for you daily. Gods got this….

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