The Difference Between Your Role and Your Identity

Ecclesiastes 10:10

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.


One trait that most people rarely develop into a positive habit is learning the art of turning failure into success. Like an old ax with a dull blade, we continue to exert more physical energy in its use rather than employ sound wisdom on the problem. Like the person who keeps trying to mop up the water in the bathroom without first turning off the faucet, we work harder rather than smarter. But sound wisdom is available for those who are tired of continually falling short of the mark.

To pursue any type of success without expecting setbacks is like running a marathon without expecting to take a drink of water. Life is not designed that way. The quicker one learns to turn lemons into lemonade, the more enjoyable life will become.

First failure is in the eye of the beholder. Thomas Edison failed over two thousand times to find the perfect filament for the electric light bulb. That is how an outsider viewed the situation. However, Mr. Edison himself simply viewed each test as one step in the process of eliminating what doesn’t work.

The largest reason, I believe, people are able to properly manage the mental anguish of failure is the ability to separate their identity as a person from the role they are working through. When you truly realize you are a child of the same God who holds the universe together, held in the grip of Jesus Christ, made and being morphed into his image, you have an eternal identity which no failure nor person can remove. However, when your identity is found in anything else (no matter how good it may look or be), you have made an idol that will eventually come crumbling down.

When you can separate your identity from your role in life, then you will find it easier to evaluate the situation and come up with more reasonable solutions to your dilemma. However, when you use your role as your identity cup, that cup will leave you totally empty when the role is over. Roles come and go but your identity in Christ remains forever.

You see this all the time. The person whose career is over becomes lost because their identity was solely buried in their work. The mother whose identity was found in her children becomes lost when the children leave home. The teenager whose identity is found with his friends becomes lost if not accepted by his peers or their friends move away. The athlete whose identity is found on the football field finds himself loss when he is discarded because of his age.

When you know who you are in Christ though, then each role you accept becomes a learning process of developing the necessary skills needed to succeed in that role. No matter how well you succeed or fail to succeed, you are only defining your ability to manage that role. Your identity in Christ doesn’t change. Yes, you may be a lousy waitress, but you are an awesome child of God. Yes, you may be a lousy ballplayer, but you can improve by sharpening the necessary skills need to succeed. The same with any role you have chosen to pursue.

Of course, when you build your role upon the God-given gifts and natural abilities given, the path will be easier. Yet motivation and hard work developing the necessary skill set is also necessary and doable. You may not become the #1 rated person in your industry, but you will be greatly respected for what and how you do it.

So, the next time you find yourself short of your mark, thank God for the opportunity you have been given, find yourself a mentor, and know that failure only sets the bar for you to discover what you need to change to become more effective in the role you are working through.

Don’t confuse your identity with your role. Master your role. Keep centered in your identity. Then failure is only a holding pattern in a learning process of improving your role.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Non-Fatal Failure

Isaiah 41:13

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ESV.

In business over the years, we have seen how fear of failure has dismantled the career path of many executives and managers. If you haven’t come to the point yet where the decision you need to make is so overwhelming, than you haven’t faced your worst enemy yet. Whether the decision to sell your business to a competitor, fire a key employee, or take on more debt for the sake of unknown growth, many leaders have struggled and anguished through the process.

At the same time, I am always amazed at how certain business-minded entrepreneurs step back, view the same unknown horizon, and make the prudent decision without hesitation. The main difference we have seen with believers and unbelievers is the refreshing faith and trust that whatever happens is non-fatal in the long term.

Yes, one may economically dissipate everything that took years to acquire and build; and when one associates success with self-worth, the burden can be overwhelming. Yet let the truth be told though, these men and women have learned whether the venture is successful or not will not diminish one’s value as a person. In other words, failure is non-fatal.

When one reaches the point in life where their relationship with the living God is the most important thing and everything else takes a second position, then the outcome of what lies ahead doesn’t really matter in the long term. One can easily walk away from everything and know that with God’s help everything can be restored.

The difficult challenge is not the acquisition of the physical toys and building blocks that surround us but the fortitude of character built from inside your soul and expressed through the world around you. The pain for most believers typically is “not the what is in it for me battle” but concern for the weaker minds and hands of those who are dependent on you for their livelihood. Most people who surround you are probably more focused on what you can give them rather than trusting the living God to provide everything for all of us.

Failure most often is the starting point toward learning who God is and how you can join Him in His work for mankind. Failure is painful when you place your trust in the outcome to solve all your problems. Failure is also a problem when you accept your god as the solution rather than the obstacle to overcome.  But with the Triune God, failure is never fatal. Only the starting point of discovering who you truly are in Christ.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Without Failure

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
“Life keeps throwing me lemons because I make the best lemonade.” – King James Gadsden

failure 2

Failure is the road to success.
Without failure, we wouldn’t know which is the better road to take.
Without failure, we would produce inferior products and service.
Without failure, we wouldn’t know what changes to make.
Without failure, we would take everything for granted.
Without failure, pride would rule.
Without failure, humility wouldn’t shine.
Without failure, love would be cheapen.
Without failure, the best wouldn’t climb to the top.
Without failure, the reward-to-risk return wouldn’t be appreciated.
Without failure, lemonade would never come from lemons.
Without failure, light bulbs wouldn’t exist.
Without failure, victory would be shallow.
Without failure, second chances wouldn’t be necessary.
Without failure, grace wouldn’t be needed.
Without failure, evil would overcome good.
Without failure, boredom would be the number one complaint from people.
Without failure, there is no need for a Savior.
Without failure, hope is lost.
Without failure, courage wouldn’t be noticed.
Without failure, faith would be dead.
Without failure, truth would never be realized.
Without failure, life would be empty.
Without failure, opportunities wouldn’t exist.
Without failure, godly character wouldn’t bloom.
Without failure, talent wouldn’t be noticed.
Without failure, life would simply be taken for granted.

Isn’t life awesome when you can take failure, learn from it, make changes, and continue to move forward toward your life’s purpose and goals?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!