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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How Do You Measure Success?

success 3

In the business world, everything that is important and valued is monitored, measured, and evaluated for improvement.  But in our personal walk with the Triune God, how do we measure real success?  For example, when we view the world’s religious landscape, what do we notice?

There are those who place emphasis on keeping rules.
There are those who emphasize a specific denomination.
There are those who observe special days.
There are those who place trust in Jesus plus…(something else).
There are those who place trust in their ability to do good work.
There are those who place trust in their service toward others.
There are those who place trust in pursuing causes for social justice.
There are those who place trust in maintaining a loving relationship with others.
There are those who place trust in yoga, in karma, or in the cosmos.
There are those who place trust in their ability to recall scripture.
There are those who place trust in attending church services on a regular basis.
There are those who place trust in participating in local, Christian fellowship.
There are those who place trust in observing unique rituals.
There are those who place trust in their ability to pray.
There are those who place trust…(add your own observation)

The point is many of us place trust everywhere but in Jesus. Yet, trusting His claim as Savior, Lord, and King from our heart, head, and will in everyday life’s circumstances is all we really have to show.  A total, dependent trust that His life, death, and resurrection gives us birth unto a new life. A life that we can taste now. A hope that we can believe.

The real measure of spiritual success is simply our faith (trust) in Him.  No matter the trial; no matter the situation; no matter the challenge we face, our faith is constantly being tested and strengthen through the circumstances of life.  Though we may fail to live up to our expectations, He is committed to being faithful and will complete the task. We simply have to hang in there with Him.
The fact is Christ knows our human condition. Most of the time we are simply discovering where we really do stand before God, and it’s not pretty. I am one believer who is very thankful that Jesus is my Judge and jury and He includes us within His story. We are simply his servants enjoying the ride.

How goes your trust in Jesus? Jesus himself wondered whether or not there would be real, trusting faith in this world when he returns (Luke 18:8).  However, no matter where you stand, Jesus loves you and enjoys you just as you are. He only wants you to truly enjoy spending time with him as he invests heaven’s and earth’s resources for your journey with Him unto the promise land.

Our Prayer


Our Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit – Thank you for opening our mind and heart to come to know you. To know your love, joy, and peace. To know that no matter the situation, the struggle, or event, you are always with us. Whatever we lack in trusting you, continue to shower us with your favor and grace as you sanctify and grow us to always trust you no matter the circumstance. Help us to glorify your name every time we trust you for your intervention in our life. Complete your work in us; help us to participate with you in your Story for mankind.  Amen

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…