Work, Identity, and Joy

Welcome to this cozy corner of the interwebs. This space allows me to share what I am learning, practice a bit of vulnerability, and hopefully inspire you along the way. Brace yourself today…I might be a little more vulnerable than typical, but shew, the Holy Spirit is working on me. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Ah, the summer months—a time for reflection. As we reach the midpoint of the calendar year, it’s only natural to reflect. Do we remember those New Year resolutions and One Words? Are we reaching our goals? Are we doing the things that honor the Lord?

As I have reflected, I’ve discovered a couple of things:

1 – I’ve noticed how easily I allow my full-time job to define my very identity. It’s a dangerous trap to fall into, one that obscures the truth of who I truly am. I love my work. I love my coworkers. I get to work in a place full of people who love the Lord. However, if you ask me who I am, my first answer probably isn’t a Christ follower or Jesus lover. My first answer is my job title. My job should be what I do, not who I am. My work is what I do to bring God glory, but it is not who God has created me to be. He has created me to be his child. He has created me to love Him and love others.

He has created me to love Him and love others.

See Matthew 22:36-40

2 – I often catch myself searching for joy within the confines of my career. It’s as if I expect my job to be a primary source of happiness. The problem is that I work with people. God’s Word tells us we are all sinners (see Romans 3:23), so why do I think for even a minute that work will be all fun, smiles, rainbows, and happiness…even in a place full of Christ followers.

Why do I think my identity and joy are found by stepping into my office each morning?

Yikes!

The Word of God speaks loud and clear on this matter. Galatians 2:20 powerfully declares, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

So, if Christ resides within me, then I am not simply defined by my job. My joy cannot be contingent on external circumstances. No, if I am truly living by the Spirit, my identity rests solely in Christ, and true joy flows from Him alone.

But how does that translate into my daily reality? How do I navigate the complexities of life when I find myself seeking validation from others? How do I maintain joy when faced with challenging days? The reality is circumstances possess such a tangible hold on our thoughts and emotions that we often allow them to influence us. If we are honest, these circumstances shape our thoughts, emotions, and possibly our faith even more than the immutable Truth (that is, the Word of God).

Even though I know better, I fall into these traps of misguided identity and fleeting happiness over and over. In these moments, I’m reminded of a word we often hear in Christian circles—sanctification.

2 Corinthians 7:1 enlightens us, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

This verse implies that the process of “cleansing” and “bringing holiness” is ongoing—sanctification is a continuous journey. The Holy Spirit’s transformative work within us does not remove us from the world’s hardships, pains, and struggles, nor does it shield us from the snares of sin that entangle us.

In 2 Timothy 6, the perils of greed and envy are outlined, warning us against the tempting snares that lead to destruction. In my case, the snare of people-pleasing gets me. The repercussions of seeking approval from others can wreak havoc on our identity when our purpose isn’t firmly centered on glorifying the Lord.

So, where is all of this leading? (It’s time to “land the plane,” as my pastor would say.)

If we neglect the work of anchoring our joy and identity in Christ, rest assured, the enemy will attack. Remember the parable of the man who built his house on sand? (See Matthew 7:24-27) By establishing Christ as our solid foundation, we know we won’t crumble when adversity strikes.

Now, you might wonder, what does this work entail? It’s simple, yet far from easy:
1 – Get into God’s Word daily.
2 – Fall in love with your Creator.
3 – Pray fervently.

True joy is discovered in these sacred practices, spiritual disciplines. It is here that our identity finds its roots. It is why I pour my heart into creating content for Proverbs3Three. I will refuse to let love and faithfulness leave me; I will write them on the tablet of my heart (Proverbs 3:3).

So, my friend, let us continue on this transformative journey together, diving deep into the wellspring of God’s Word, seeking the heart of our Creator, and communing with Him in fervent prayer. In doing so, we will discover the joy and identity that transcends earthly circumstances and find ourselves anchored upon the solid rock—Jesus Christ, our Savior.


Let’s journal:

  • Consider how you define your identity? When someone asks who you are, what are the first words that pop into your mind?
  • What scripture can you claim to refocus your identity around your position in Christ?

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3 responses to “Work, Identity, and Joy”

  1. […] know better! After all, I wrote Work, Identity, and Joy and Beee Yourself…or Maybe Not. But, I couldn’t stop reading. I was too invested, […]

  2. Krissy Avatar

    I love your journal points which challenge us to dig deeper and spend time in reflection. Thank you for sharing! I’ve certainly been guilty of letting my circumstances influence my thoughts/feelings more than God’s word at times. Thank you for these important reminders and challenges!

    1. Tyra Harnishfeger Avatar

      Culture and circumstances will always influence us. My prayer is that I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus so that Truth has the greater impact. 💕

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