What You Do is Not Who You Are
Everybody has heard it: what you do is not who you are.
It’s kind of cliché.
But still I get angry when I fail, when I fall into an old temptation, when I’m not the best, when I embarrass myself, and when I don’t meet certain expectations. Sometimes (or a lot of times) we ask ourselves, why even bother? The fight is so hard. Shame is my name and I can’t outrun it.
If you’re still holding onto your shame, you’re probably in one of these two phases:
- You think you’re not good enough and remain stuck there, hopelessly floating through life… cause why bother?
- You think you’re not good enough so you try to do more good things hoping it will make up for your lack.
I’ve done both. I’m sure you have too. Essentially, it’s the same issue: we don’t feel good enough - to be a parent, athlete, friend, pastor, sibling, entrepreneur, musician, volunteer, employee, employer, leader, spouse, human being and the list goes on and on and on.
Well, guess what? We’re right. We aren’t good enough. I’m not good enough, you’re not good enough, let’s throw a party. When we fail, we fail hard. We can try. Some of us might even do a great job. But ultimately it’s tiring and it will catch up.
Ironically, understanding you aren’t good enough is the only way to beat it. The resulting desperation pushes us to Jesus and allows us to be immersed in His grace. It drives us to our knees.
However, realizing how helpless we are is a journey in and of itself. It’s not something anyone can give us steps or bullet points on what to expect. God takes each of us on a different trek. I will say this though: the more humility we have, the better.
Lastly, I need to point out that although grace beats shame, it doesn’t mean that the shame will be eradicated from our lives. Everyday when I wake up, I need to remind myself of the Gospel...the mercy and grace I’ve received. And until we meet Him in Heaven, it’s an ongoing war and there isn’t a fool-proof way out of it. I don’t have to worry. God knows that:
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. - Lamentations 3:23
Shame will always be there. Fear will always be there. (Insert your personal struggle here) will always be there. What you do is not who you are, but some days it will feel like it is. But all these don’t have to define. Grace can, if we’ll let it.