Recently, I was passed over for an award I felt that I deserved. I was devastated, a little broken, and very lost. I have worked very hard in my career over the past year, and I knew I deserved what I was seeking. I was angry and just a little bitter. I even found myself wondering what, exactly, the person who had made the achievement possessed that I didn’t. I was even angry with this person who has no clue who I am, much less knew I was up for the very same.

I have been in a program throughout the past year which has been all about leadership in our area of education. During the entire process, we have learned about dreaming big, what it means to be a leader, and how to excel in our own leadership. Throughout, they have been ingraining in our minds that we are all leaders in our areas and were specially selected because of the leadership we possess. Slowly, I have gained confidence throughout the past year in a way that I cannot explain.

And, in one moment, it was gone. 

I told myself it wasn’t a big deal. I’d try again next year. But it remained in the back of my mind for the remainder of the day. By the time I went to bed that night, I was incredibly bothered. In the silence, the questions ran through my mind. What did the other person do that was so much better than me? Why wasn’t my accomplishment enough? Why am I not enough?

As I grew more and more bitter, I began praying (begrudgingly) for peace in the moment, for the other person, for anything that would make me feel better. During the stillness of that moment, God asked me a simple question:

“Casey, how are you identifying yourself?”

Instantly, my heart sank. I knew I had been wearing my “teacher hat” for far too long. I’ve been telling myself I do my job to be a servant to God, but I realized in that moment that I have really been enjoying the praise and recognition I’ve been receiving. While this is the closest I’ve ever felt to God in my life, I haven’t been truly working on building that relationship. Sure, I’ve been reading my Bible each night and underlining the right stuff, but I haven’t been genuinely seeking my identity in Christ. Quite the opposite, I’ve been searching for my identity in my job. God reveals to us in Colossians 3:1-3, ”

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

I’ve struggled since God spoke to me that night, but I’m trying to seek Him first rather than setting my mind on my job. Of course, I will continue working to excel at my job, but I need to constantly ask myself – Am I doing this for the students or myself? I should not need some award to believe I can be successful. Additionally, I needed to ask myself – How am I defining success? Is it awards and fluffy programs I’ve been part of, or is it creating trusting relationships with my students?
I only need to seek God in my career, and, through him, I will find more success than I could ever obtain on my own. 
Identity Watercolor

2 thoughts on “Identity”

  1. Amazing turnaround, it is easy to lose our focus and let self pity and bitterness take over. God is the rewarder and he doesn’t miss a thing. In His time, be patient and continue moving forward. You’re a great teacher and it has it’s own reward. 😊


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