Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who We Are

Advertising thrives by telling people that who they are is not good enough.

Today, I want to remind us who we are.

There was an article in the Washington Post this week called "Keeping Up Appearances," about a group of people in D.C. who have lost their jobs:
Even as the ranks of unemployed and underemployed have grown, career counselors, therapists and other experts say a certain segment is determined to suffer in silence, keeping details of job losses and financial pressure secret from all but close family and friends. The problem is particularly acute in affluent neighborhoods in the Washington region, experts say, where the self-worth of high-achieving professionals is deeply intertwined with their jobs. There might be 14 million unemployed people in this country, but in this town -- with its A-types and status seekers -- failure still is not an option.
One of the men featured in the article lived an elaborate charade, leaving the house every morning at the same time, and not coming home until after five. Others kept country club memberships they couldn't afford, just so their colleagues wouldn't know they were out of work.

Doesn't this scream how deeply our culture's message about worth and fear has permeated our minds?

Well, I want to remind us of a different message. It is not our jobs that give us worth, or purpose, or meaning. It is not our memberships, our cars, our clothes, or how many awards we (or our children) win. We seek excellence in all things because we know that we are cherished, not in order to win approval--God's or man's.

Hear what God says about His children in Isaiah 46:
“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
And from Isaiah 43:
“I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;”
The Lord has not promised that our lives will be easy or free from trouble. But he has promised to walk with us through the hard places: we are His sons and daughters, who are precious to Him. We are called to joy in spite of life's difficulties, because in the end, His is the only opinion that matters.

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