“It’s not who I am, it’s what I do"

With Sex and the City re-runs playing in the background while I edited a wedding in my apartment on a Friday afternoon (it’s a really good show, alright?), I heard Carrie Bradshaw say that quote. She had it right when she said it. As a famous writer in NYC, people knew her, she was known.  Her career driven lawyer friend Miranda is shocked to hear that Carrie decides she might want to stop writing for a while. “But Carrie, writing is who you are!” Loud and proud, she tells Miranda “It’s not who I am! It’s what I do!” Her column wasn’t her identity, it was simply what she did as a career. How many of us can say that we’ve separated the two so clearly as Carrie did? I bet not many. 

Tired, bogged down, discouraged. Trapped in comparison’s tight grip! Crap. That’s been me lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and I love my job. I am joyful. I am blessed, and I know it. But I just now realized that I am discouraged because I have made my job my identity. I’ve made it the deciding factor on who I am. I’ve made my own success the ultimate goal. If I don’t meet the amount of weddings I want per year, failure. If I’m not published in every wedding blog online, failure. If I'm not shooting those Pinterest worthy weddings on a Contax 645, failure. What a way to live. Yikes. 

Yep. Satan is at work. Double crap. He wants me to put my identity in everything other than Jesus. And, triple crap, he succeeded. 

Here’s a list of the lies the enemy has been feeding to me (if you can relate, please keep reading): 

  •  you mean nothing if you don’t have an outrageous amount of Instagram followers (don’t laugh at me, the struggle is real) 
  • if you are not booking weddings, you’re a failure
  • your work is nothing compared to *this person’s* 
  • if they said no to you, it’s because you’re not good enough
  • just quit
  • you are nothing if you aren’t well known

and my personal favorite (except not favorite at all):

  • your business is all about you 

Yeah…real bummer stuff. 

Owning a business is hard. Owning a photography business is also really really hard. It’s so personal. And when you work from home in your little 1 bedroom apartment, it’s hard to separate work from life. If we’re being honest here, I could work all day if I wanted to. And sometimes I do. All day. Into the night. And I think that’s a huge reason why I’ve made my identity my business. Because it seeps into my relaxing time with my husband. It seeps into my phone as I surf Facebook + Instagram (both marketing tools that I am absolutely thankful for, but also things that I abuse, and that’s an entirely other blog post that I may dive into another time). It just permeates every aspect of me

I love my job. I repeat, I love my job. But sometimes we get off track. And here’s where I tell you how I am getting back on track. It’s because of a miracle worker named Jesus.

It’s not who I am, it’s what I do. I am (in this order) a daughter of a gracious and powerful King, a disciple, a wife, a friend. My career is not me. It’s what I do on occasion to make a living. Why is that so difficult to understand?! I am sitting here repeating that in my head and it still takes some serious brain power to grasp. 

It all comes down to this; my priorities have not been straight. My priorities have been me trying to be successful and recognized. When that becomes #1, you’re going to suffer. Trust me, it’s not worth it.

I’ve given up. In the best, most healthy way possible. I’ve decided to give up the desire for more. The desire to be known. Because I am known in the deepest way by a person who died to know me and who has given me everything. I’ve given up making my business all about me and making it all about serving the world with the loveliness it deserves. Since when does anyone have to be the best to do that? 

The truths Jesus has been *trying* to feed me (and the truths that I have finally started to believe): 

  • you are known
  • you are worth it
  • you are good
  • i’ve given you this gift so you can bless others with it
  • i will help you
  • do what you can
  • if they said no, it’s okay. i still love you, and you are still good
  • success is not everything

So with that, I’m going to continue to do the best that I can and have fun while doing it. I will take all that pressure off and work side by side with the One who gave me the talent in the first place. He makes all the difference. Because it’s really not all about me at all. 

And maybe I will consider a wrist tattoo that says “it’s not who you are, it’s what you do.” I’m just kidding. I’ll stick to a post it note on the edge of my computer instead. 

I pray Jesus reveals those truths to you and they resonate in your innermost being today and every day. Please take it from me, the minute you direct your life towards Him, your life will change in a great, great way. Pain and hurt will fade. I promise. Jesus is a miracle worker, remember?

Olivia Strohm6 Comments