I’ve said the opposite before, “I’m not what I do,” meaning my job doesn’t equal my identity. The sentiment still holds truth, because at work I am replaceable. Occasionally I will host a work event, but I don’t have a stockpile of decor. I use whatever I have on hand, and I do mean whatever! Pillows come off the couch, art leaves the walls, even a rug will sometimes join the party.
Once, while relaxing after a long work event, my husband said, “Hey hon. Can you do me a favor?”
“Can you please stop dissembling our home every time you have an event?”
I was mortified! I have always preached, “Don’t get it twisted – family comes before work,” but while my event was beautiful, my house was upside down. In that moment, I decided to untangle my priorities and get them straight again. I decided to separate my home life from my work life to honor God and my family. I decided I am not what I do. However, as you’ve guessed by now, my perspective radically shifted.
Have you heard this advice given to parents? “Hold on to every moment, it goes by so fast!” or “The days are long, but the years are short.” As a parent, I didn’t receive it well. When our oldest of four was a toddler decorating our carpet with lipstick, “Hold on to every moment,” didn’t land the way it was probably intended. The days felt long, but the years also felt very, very long. My kids becoming teenagers or adults felt light years away!
My oldest daughter just turned ten, and I’m privileged to witness her discover the joys and challenges of life. She’s growing up, and I am starting to see snippets of who she will be as an adult. Parenting adult children doesn’t seem so far away now, and this realization hit me recently: I will have spent more hours of my life at work than I will have spent actively parenting four children at home. When all the hours of my kids’ lives without me present are taken into account – weeks at summer camp, hangouts with friends, hours at school, the truth is I have a limited amount of time with my kids. On the other hand, even if I don’t work outside the home during parenting years, I will spend many more hours at work assuming I am blessed with a long, full life.
My faulty belief was I shouldn’t merge my identity with my job. But I forgot one extremely important gift I am responsible for that no one else can take in my place – the gift and responsibility of time. God has given me life! He has ordained all my days, and I am solely responsible for each of them. If such a significant percentage of that life is spent at work, then I better be doing something that brings me closer to God. Work matters. Who I am is beautifully knit to the work I do. I do not need to earn my significance; my life itself is significant to the One who designed it. We are all created in the image of God, and yet we are all one of a kind. Just imagine, God really must be big! So, the purpose of applying myself at work is not to win awards or have an impressive income, and it’s especially not to earn a relationship with God. Instead, I am invited to study and master my natural skills and gifts as a way of knowing God more.
I have a knack for understanding someone else’s point of view. I love watching faces light up when people realize I understand them, their best interest is important to me, and I can help them get where they want to go. It’s impossible to share the pure joy I experience when the other person in the conversation feels seen. That moment of trust in a work relationship is precious to me, and I walk away going, “God, did that bring you joy too?” Small tasks are also meaningful. The to-do’s no one knows I’m doing – they are important. The tasks that are important, but often unnoticed, remind me how God also works behind the scenes, getting things done. He is faithful!
I am what I do. I am the only one who can tend to my career with thoughtfulness and care. I am the only one who can prepare for my future. I am the only one who can fulfill the assignments God has wired me to fulfill. I am the only one who can respond to His invitation for communion and relationship. I hope to hear, “well done,” from my Creator one day and to hear that, I will need to do well.
C H R I S S I E V E L A S Q U E Z
Chrissie Velasquez is a sales and account management professional employed by a non-profit supplier in the multifamily industry. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, two daughters, two sons, and a spoiled rotten golden doodle. To learn more about Chrissie or to connect with her professionally, head to the links below.
Instagram | @chrissie.joy