Doing or Being
17 May 2019
Kids have a lot of dreams. Some want to be professional athletes or Olympic gold medal winners, famous singers, actors or even explorers. Not to mention firefighters, police officers, doctors and vets. Some want to make truckloads of money, live in big houses and have cool, fast cars. They have great dreams about doing, not being. They aren’t focused on who they should be on the inside – their values and priorities – even though all those inner attributes affect everything else. Who they are will shape everything they do.
In our culture, this struggle between being and doing starts early and is often unknowingly encouraged. I have asked my kids what they want to be when they grow up and I remember being asked that question. We ask our children what they want to be when they grow up so much more often than we ask them what kind of person they want to be. When we ask “What do you want to be?” They think what we really mean is “What job do you want to have?” It focuses on what they do rather than who they are. And most will spend their lives identifying themselves by what they do.
Growing up I had a friend Seth who was the same person if he was winning or losing, his self-esteem didn’t depend on what he accomplished. He was the school’s star AFL player and distance runner, a champion swimmer and he played the guitar brilliantly. After a motor vehicle accident his face was permanently disfigured and he was never able to run and play like he used to. He didn’t lose his identity, he was still Seth. He didn’t lose his spark for life, his self-worth didn’t depend on him being the star, he was still a great guy, funny and smart. Although being less physically able changed what he was capable of doing, it didn’t change who he was.
The most important thing about you is who you are, not what you do. You may think you’ll be satisfied when you fulfil your goals or achieve the role you have dreamed of, but if you have an unsatisfied heart now, outward accomplishments won’t change that. Pr Brian challenged me the other day inspiring me to think about some of these things. Know who you are on the inside and what God has done to make you who you are. That’s where your identity comes from.
“Who are you?” is not asking what you do. Your identity is defined by the God who made you, it doesn’t change with circumstances. Let’s remind ourselves to not get so caught up in our ‘doing’ that we forget about ‘being’.
Secondary Wellbeing Coordinator