How do you define yourself? So often we define ourselves by our jobs, our hobbies, or our accomplishments. But when we lose a job, aren’t able to participate in our hobby, or experience failure rather than success, we lose our sense of identity and feel lost at sea.
Fr. Keith Romke, a priest in the Diocese of Rockford, stopped by The Inner Life® this week to reflect on your identity as a child of God. He shared that when we find our identity in our relationship with the Lord we set ourselves on a firm foundation that can withstand all the storms of life.
Fr. Romke said, “I think we’ve all had times when something positive happens in our life and we feel like we’re on top of the world. Then something will happen and we feel knocked down, and all of a sudden it’s not just that this thing happened, but we think, ‘I’m not good enough.'”
“Or we think that if I could just have this one thing happen then I would be super happy. But then we get that thing and we’re only happy for a little bit. So I think the first thing is realizing that so often we’re on a hamster wheel. The world truly does lie to us. We think we’re going to be happy if one thing happens, and it doesn’t satisfy.”
Pointing to the words of St. Augustine, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you,” Fr. Romke acknowledged that we spend so much time and energy chasing meaning and purpose through what we do, that we don’t stop to simply rest in who we are.
“So often we look at what we do and we think that is who we are,” he said. “Which is not the case whatsoever.”
Illustrating one of the common lies that people fall into, Fr. Romke said, “I like to look at mission, identity, and relationship. What can happen is that we have our mission, the things that we do, and what we are trying to accomplish. And we think that we have to be so successful in our mission and these things we have to do to prove ourselves.”
He explained that the lie we are told is that the things we do or the mission we accomplish will then forge a positive identity, which will lead to good relationships.
“God says it’s not that way at all,” he said. “Flip it around. Instead of mission, identity, relationships, it all starts with relationship. With a relationship that we don’t have to earn, that we don’t have to prove ourselves with. God is our Father, and that is given to us in baptism. That relationship with God gives us our identity as a child of God. And that can never be taken away.”
Rather than finding our identity in what we do, Fr. Romke encouraged listeners to find their identity in the Lord, and allow him to show us what it is he wants us to do, with confidence he will give us the grace to do his will.
“From that identity, knowing who we are as children of God, that gives us the confidence and the grace that we need to then have our mission revealed by God and to set out and do whatever God calls us to do each day.”
Listen to the full conversation below: