As I thought about the masks we wear (click here for my post on Masks) I realized that in the past, I have had a tendency to make my hat into a mask. Let me explain…
I have been a pastor for 15 years and I believe that I have a “spiritual gift” of “Pastor/Shepherd.” If you don’t know what those mean, essentially I believe that I have a God-given gift or tendency to be a pastor and walk with people in their faith.
It just so happens that what I am gifted to do is what I have had the chance to do for a vocation, which isn’t always the case. Regardless of your vocation and gifts, the risk of finding our identity in the wrong place still exists.
The reality is that we can turn those hats into masks.
I don’t know if you remember the TV show “Fat Albert” but there was a character named “Dumb Donald” in that show who would wear his hat over his eyes. When his face is covered up, we can’t see who he is because the hat has become his identity.
I remember a number of years back when I would say “Being a pastor isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am”. As much as that was true in some respects, it left me vulnerable to an identity crisis because being a pastor was deeply anchored to my being paid to be a pastor.
So what happens to me if I lose my job? Can I still be me when I’m not paid for it?
People fall into this all of the time, especially when we find ourselves in traumatic situations where we feel like we have no control of things around us. We pour ourselves into a role, whether it be volunteering or our career or even parenting. One of the roles we carry becomes our primary identity.
This is a problem because inevitably that role will fade. We can lose our job or our kids can move out of the house and who we thought we were is suddenly brought into question.
We have to be careful; who we are is so much more than something we love to do! Who we are should be based on our foundational belief in Jesus and the fact that God created us on purpose and with purpose. Security is found in His love for us no matter what we are doing as a career. Interests and passions do not make us who we are, as much as they might shed insight into how and why we were created, they can’t complete us or fulfill us on their own.
Only a relationship with Jesus can do that.
Don’t let yourself believe that the hat you wear is who you are, otherwise you might not recognize yourself in the mirror when the hat is removed and the job or role isn’t there anymore.