This week it feels like my identity is bleeding away.
You have to realize that us guys get a lot of our identity from our jobs, the things we do. One of the questions that will be asked shortly after two guys meet for the first time is “So, what do you do” or “Where do you work”. We judge each other based on the perceived importance of our positions.
Wednesday was my last day as an employee of a national livestock feed company. I had worked there for the past two years. Prior to that, I worked for a division of the largest livestock feed company in North America which was sold to my last employer. In both cases, I held senior management roles. Even though I did not particularly enjoy my job and had difficulties with the values of my last employer, my image, and identity were strongly intact. I was an important guy there.
Yesterday was my last day as an elder in our church. Our denomination has a policy that rotates the leadership of our churches, normally on a three-year basis. We had some tough things happen in our past that got in the road of the norm and I ended up serving nearly four years. Those years were challenging and rewarding. God has blessed our congregation, and I have been blessed as well. I was proud to identify myself as one of the leaders of this church, but that to is over.
Driving home from church yesterday, I felt like I had lost something and I felt a little lost as well. I know that new things are coming, and I am excited about those, but, my old identity and the major parts of my life that made up that identity were a little like a comfortable shoe. I could walk through the world knowing who I was and knowing how to act in that role.
I also know that those two things aren’t the full story of who I am, but they have left a pretty big hole now that they are gone.