A Word with You - Mar. 15, 2011

Throwing Away Your Identity Crutches

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In our town, Dr. Jennings was one of the most feared teachers in the school system. She taught music, and she began a new year in elementary school one year with a tirade that dumped all over one poor little boy who happened to raise his hand and say, "Mrs. Jennings..." At which she totally exploded and said, "Dr. Jennings, and don't you forget it!" And I want to tell you, that was only the beginning of what she said. You'd better call her Doctor. You get the distinct impression she really needs that title for her identity. But then, have you ever watched high school football players? I've worked with them a lot, and it's kind of fun to watch them, because in a sense, they're seldom seen in public without their letter jacket. Oh, yeah, all summer long wearing my letter jacket. You've got to have your jacket to kind of have your identity. Who am I without my letter jacket? Huh?

And then what about top executives? I heard not too long ago about some executive retreats where they got them in small groups and they said to them, "We want you to just answer this question tonight here in this relaxed setting. Who are you? Just tell us who you are, but you can't mention your company, your title, your position, or anything about your work. On your mark, get set, go!" I heard it was very quiet in the room, because not very many people could answer who they were without referring to their work or their position. You know, a lot of us are severely handicapped because we're basing our identity on something that...well, it just can't support us.

© (c) Ronald P. Hutchcraft
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

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Originally published March 15, 2011.