When we meet new people, we usually identify ourselves in such a way as to include where we work or what our career title is or by whose parent/spouse we are or what school we attend or what degree we are pursuing. Have you ever wondered why we do that? I suppose it is our link to a greater cause or our way to label our contributions to society.
When we lose or quit a job, we can feel like we have lost our identity. When I quit my job to stay home to raise my children, the adjustment period took some time. Somehow it didn’t seem very productive to be just a mom or just a homemaker, although those titles are among the most treasured. I kept plenty busy “just” tending to my family. If someone said something like, “Oh, I could never do that because I’d be SO bored,” I would feel a little ashamed of not contributing to whatever the rest of the world thought was so much more of a priority. I am sorry to admit that, even though I have to say I have never been bored working at home. Honestly, I’m exhausted at the end of most days.
Our jobs or professions aren’t our identity though. Being a parent or a spouse isn’t an identity either. What we DO isn’t our identity. Our identity has more to do with who we live for, how we live, the nature of our character.
Shaken Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms by Tim Tebow with A. J. Gregory is full of encouragement and godly advice about finding our true identity. While sports fans may especially value this book, I think people who seek a deeper walk in their faith or who are seeking answers about the purpose of our lives will appreciate it as well.
Tebow shared about his career ups and downs and about special people he has met through his foundation’s W15H (pronounced wish) outreach program. He talks about focusing on the truth of what God says about us rather than on the fickle opinions of people. He urges us to choose courage and “believe that God’s got everything under control”.
The entire book was a wonderful pep talk. When he talks about “voices of negativity,” I liked that he points out what is truly important—doing our best. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to change plans. We need to pray, seek direction, make a decision, and act. We need to get back up and continue trying to reach our goals of growing to be the best person we can be at what we lay our hands to. If we include God, He will guide us and work everything out. Tebow quoted John Maxwell saying, “Growth is the great separator of those who succeed long term from those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.” Wow! Sometimes we need to separate ourselves from the negative people in our life, especially if they don’t share our vision, don’t understand us, or don’t want us to move forward. There will always be people who want to cut us down, steal our joy. We need to surround ourselves with our own cheerleaders who sincerely pray for us.
He also talks about “normal”. What a breath of fresh air to hear that we should be the amazing individuals God created us to be rather than conform to what others say is normal, which for the record never remains the same definition. It reminded me of a quote I heard once that I don’t know to whom to attribute, but it went something like, “Why are we always trying so hard to fit in when God made us one of a kind (unique) so that we can be set apart.” Amen. We shouldn’t be ashamed of being different. We are all different—on purpose!
Taking a stand for what we believe in, helping others, and leaving a legacy are other important topics he covers. Each chapter was inspiring.
I enjoyed getting to know Tebow through his stories and the stories of his friends. I hope you will find your own copy to read. Let me know what your favorite story or quote was!