Where Do You Get Your Identity From?

Some years ago I was working on in a second line support team and I really enjoyed the job. I knew the job well, I had a good working relationship with my colleagues and we often went out socially. Everything in my life was great. I loved my job and I was dating a gorgeous woman.

Then we had news at work that, despite several years of loyal service to the company, they were shutting down the whole department, making the majority redundant and transferring the few roles left to a different company that they had just bought elsewhere in the country.

Rumours of this had been rumbling ever since that new company had been bought and the parent company had started sending their employees down to our department to learn what we did under the pretence of making the department better prepared for disaster recovery.

Although the news was in some ways expected, when the whole department was gathered together and the news was actually delivered, everyone felt crushed. Some were cynical, others brushed it off but most were worried about the future.

Despite the generous 6 month notification before the department was shutdown it didn’t lessen the shock of the reality. For me it was the first time in my life that I had been made redundant.

Questions abounded in my mind at the time, “What am I going to do now?”, “What does the future hold for me now?”, “What about my new relationship?” etc.

One of the biggest struggles I had though was not about getting a new job but about the fact that I was no longer wanted and in my mind I had linked my job title and role with my purpose. My job title and job role was what defined me, not who I was in Christ Jesus first.

If I was no longer required (redundant) then who was I?

In terms of life lessons, this was a big one for me. I struggled with coming to terms with the reality of being made redundant because I felt that I was being rejected.

And of course I was. But not by God.

You see what I hadn’t realised was that in Christ I am firstly His child and I should derive my identity and purpose from Him alone; everything else is secondary to this.

Understanding this replaces what the World says that you are worth with what God says that you are worth. It says in the Bible,

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

We are loved and chosen by God and not just chosen but chosen before the world was created (Eph 1:4)! Knowing this and understanding that we are first of all children of God (John 1:12) and Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) makes all the difference.

Ambassadors represent their Government’s interests in a foreign country. Christ asks us to do the same; only our home is Heaven (Phil 3:20).

We are first and foremost Christians who should act, talk and think differently from those around us. As someone once said, if you were ever arrested for being a Christian (and I know people are but this is a hypothetical question), would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Once I realised these things and I was not what my job title said who I was, God continued His good work in my heart (Eph 2:10).

But it was a painful process.

God humbled me so that I ended up in a job that was paying the same wage that I was on when I had first started at the company that made me redundant (roughly half the amount I was on) but we (yes – I married that gorgeous woman) didn’t want for anything.

God, in His grace, continued to look after me and now us.

So maybe you’re facing redundancy or are already redundant looking for a job and don’t know how you’re going to get through this next month or even week – know this; God loves you.

The creator of this world and everything in it cares intimately and deeply for you and He asks that you draw closer to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Life throws curveballs at us at times but that’s when we remember that we need to draw close to our Father-in-heaven and pray.

Know that you are His and that He’ll never let you go (Psalms 55:22); no matter what happens.