I'm curious about the things that we use to define ourselves.
If I think about how I would define myself to someone, I would say that I am a Christian first, then a husband and father. Those are really the big ones.
Then I might continue and say that I am a geek/nerd, based mostly on my interests. I also would say I'm a son, and a friend, and a brother. After those, we start getting into really obscure things that I wouldn't say define me enough to be important.
I would NOT say that I am a computer support technician, even thought I spend 9 hours, 5 days a week doing that. I mean, when people ask me what I do, I say "I am a ...", but I would define myself with that. In my head, it is what I do, not who I am. Even though I spend more than 40 hours a week involved in that, way more than I spend at Church or in prayer or with my friends or with most of my family, including my daughter (at least awake.) I also have been doing that job for almost 10 years, but still I wouldn't use it in the description of who I am.
Which makes me wonder if my view of who I am is flawed. Am I in denial about the things that make me up? Who is a person other than a collection of the things the do, the things they say, the thoughts they think? If I spend so much time fixing computer, and having to talk about and think about fixing computers, doesn't that make me a computer tech, even if I don't want it to?
I test this against how I think others see me. I know they see some of the things I would consider defining about me, but they also see me as at least some of my job. There are people in my life that almost can't talk to me about anything other than my job, so they must see that as an integral part of my personality. How do I explain to them that I see that as the most minimal part of me and would much rather talk about something (sometimes anything) else? Don't get me wrong, I like helping people and those skills allow me to help others, but I want people to take interest in me, not what I do.
The big thing that is left out of the above list is that I am a sinner. I have never really had a problem with admitting that, in fact I probably focused on it too much in the past. I sometimes have a hard time understanding how anyone can believe we aren't sinners.
However, I don't see this as something that defines me anymore. Again, it is something I do; in a sense, it is a disease that will one day kill me. However, thanks to Christ, it isn't who I am. I suffer from it and because of it, but I am not ruled by it anymore. I am ruled by Jesus and that transforms me in such a way that I am separated from sin in a way that makes it no longer a part of what is truly me. I will an unfortunate part of every day fighting it, I will be subject to sin in the world and in others actions far more than I care to think about, I will even still succumb to sin and do things I know aren't right. But who I am in Jesus Christ is so much larger and more powerful than sin that it completely overrides sins grasp on me. Sin will kill me, but I will recover, and be better than I ever have been.
This is what helps me understand how to look at who I am. I am more than the sum of the things I do, or thing, or say. I am more than my job. I am who Christ is making me, and that is far greater than any other thing that I am, to the point of making them inconsequential. If being a husband defines me, it defines me in so much as Christ is using it to change me. If being a father defines me, it does it only as Christ uses it to show me His heart and teach my children about Him. Even though my direct time with God is depressingly small in the scope of moments, it is the biggest thing I am involved in and infuses everything else.
So, I may not be all that I want to be now, or ever in this life; but one day I'll recover.