Identity Crisis: Part 5 – “So, What Do You Do?” Answering That Nagging Question

open book of family story
We acquire degrees, status, houses, cars, and fat retirement funds. But it is best to invest in the Kingdom of God and lay up treasures in heaven.

“So, what do you DO?” We’ve all been asked that question, and it can be a nuisance. Why does the world define us by what we DO?  Obviously, because the world values status, prestige and accomplishment. And money. But what happens when Christians confront each other with this question? Our answer should be ‘I want to glorify God in whatever I do.’ Why are we compelled to go into a verbal resume instead?

Being complementarian, I am thrilled that I’ve been loosed from the bondage of paid employment and that daily grind. God blessed me with a new husband and provider. I love domesticity. I’m free from office politics, corporate guidelines, career casual fashion, and everything else that goes with that robotic, please-the-man mode of work/career. I no longer have to climb the ladder to nowhere.

In the Beginning There Was…Work

In the garden, God-ordained work was pleasurable. After the fall, work became drudgery that continues to this day. We read in Genesis 3:

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…

Biblically speaking, work is something you do to earn your keep, to put bread on the table. Work for pay is part of the curse. And yet employment is a great blessing and we know God hates sloth and idleness. A wonderful study about work can be found here: Work – Blessing or Curse?

Sadly, our professions have become a source of pride. I am a distinguished scientist and I work for Big Engineer Company. I am an esteemed professor at Big Bucks University. Yes, all good things come from God. And He gives us gifts and talents. So the career, job, whatever you call it is good. But all should be done as unto Him for His glory. Colossians 3: 23,24 says:

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

And Ephesians 6:

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Then comes the nagging question, “So, what do you do?” and we are tempted to embellish with important titles and job descriptions, or we feel like the world’s greatest underachiever. We are tempted to be men-pleasers.

Women and Work

We’ve studied complementarianism vs. egalitarianism. Bear in mind, being complementarian doesn’t mean a woman should never have paid employment. I do believe that women who are blessed with marriage and children need to heed their primary calling. Serving husband and children comes first. Outside employment interferes with that. Doing it all and having it all are feminazi lies. Because of those lies, even Christian women today wrestle with careers vs. being a stay-at-home mom.

Stay-at-home mom and other annoying titles…

There were days when it was okay to be called just mom. Now we have to prefix it with stay-at-home. Does this mean she is house-bound?

I was a stay-at-home mom (ugh) in a suburban ghost town (all other moms worked) in the 1980s. Living in Long Island, NY at that time, I was certainly an oddball in a community of have-it-all neatly manicured lawns. We drove rusted relics and mowed weeds, but our priorities were different than other neighborhood couples. It was a very lonely life, but I cherished those years. Toward the end of the 1990s, my circumstances changed and I was foisted into the work world, albeit only part-time. With the new millennium came singleness which necessitated my return to college and full-time employment. I’m thankful the Lord enabled me and sustained me during those years, but they were nothing to write a resume about!

I’ve noticed some young Christian women are embarrassed by being a stay-at-home mom. They incorporate different apologies for it in their blogs – like ‘ registered nurse now nursing mom’ or ‘teacher turned homeschooler’, which is fine. But that is saying, in effect, I must prove my worth, my identity, because being a mother in and of itself is just not enough! Nonsense! Or it could be a result of pride — I am qualified for blah blah, I have credentials in pooh pooh, but now I just take care of poo poo. Does anyone else see this trend? I hate it. They are answering that nagging question, “so, what do you do?”

Another phrase I hate is ‘work outside the home’ as if you have to remind everyone that yes, you are working in the home. Feminism has denigrated the woman’s biblical calling as helper to the man, nurturer of children and homemaker. Even titles like ‘Domestic Engineer’ and ‘Manager at Jones Household’ are attempts at more respectability. We shouldn’t care what the world thinks. Bring glory to God as a mom, homemaker, wife. Yes, that’s what you do.

Men and Work

I could be wrong, but I tend to think men identify with their work more than working women do.  When men lose their jobs through lay-offs or other circumstances, the devastation is deep. Understandably, it’s because they have (hopefully!) that biblical Provider instinct.

If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8)

But also, it’s because of this question,”What do you DO?”

I am currently unemployed. Now I do nothing. I’m an embarrassment.

They’ve lost more than their job – they’ve lost their identity, because they have mistakenly attached their identity to WHAT THEY DO. We’ll talk more about men identifying with careers in another post. (My last two posts exceeded the word limit of our attention-deficit-disordered society!)

Our God-ordained roles as men and women are constant. We have different stages of life: sometimes we are working and sometimes not. So the answer to that nagging question is ever-changing, hardly relevant and always annoying on the receiving end. It’s a question that tempts us to sin as we pridefully rattle off job titles. It is really asking, “How important are you? How brilliant? How much money do you make? Are you upper, middle or lower class?” If we want to get to know someone or start a conversation, ask something else, please. Ask anything but “So, what do you do?”


Identity Crisis: Part 4: The Rebellious Rib – Egalitarianism (Evangelical Feminism)

Some things are obvious. Take, for instance, anatomical differences in male and female. Obviously different. Gender confusion of the day argues that to be the only difference. Male and female, they say, are interchangeable in their abilities, attributes and (in most Arminian mainstream social-gospel “Christian” churches) even their place in the pulpit. Evangelical feminism infiltrated the church long ago and I suppose we’ll see more of that as apostasy increases.

It’s time to give that other view, egalitarianism, equal share, ahem, on this blog.

What is Christian egalitarianism?

Wikipedia definition:

Christian egalitarianism holds that all people are equal before God and in Christ; have equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling to the glory of God; and are called to roles and ministries without regard to class, gender, or race.

This is the basic definition. Sounds wonderful and innocent on the surface. But equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling is where it gets fuzzy. A woman may feel gifted or called to be a pastor, but God’s Word says women should be silent in the church. 1 Timothy 2:12, 13 says:

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

Women are never called to lead men or preach! If they feel that calling, it’s certainly not from God. This is a blatant disregard for authority – God’s authority. It is a breach of God’s created order. More about this later.

To further understand egalitarianism and how it usurps God’s order, let’s peek back into the Hollywood realm and recall a darling 1940s film, Adam’s Rib. We have husband, Adam, and wife, Amanda (wonder why they didn’t call her Eve). Both are lawyers. Both are brilliant, strong and savvy. Certainly, the wife is as capable as her husband in their shared profession. Adams_rib_trailerThis is an egalitarian relationship. Husband and wife are created equals (as they are in complementarianism), but there are no distinct male/female roles or attributes. Amanda was free to pursue her career. But is this her intended purpose? Does she neglect Adam in any way while she works on her case as the defense lawyer? Notice Adam wearing an apron, performing kitchen duties. Hollywood began its feminization of men earlier than we’d realized. What many Christians forget is that God has a purpose for everything He does and it is always a good purpose. It is always to carry out His will, not ours. So let’s begin to study this idea of egalitarianism with Adam’s rib.

The original Adam’s Rib

Our identity series Bible verse – Gen. 1:27:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Adam’s rib in Genesis 2:

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

We know that God said it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18), so God created a suitable helper and companion for Adam. The following is a beautiful explanation of God’s design for male and female, penned by one of my favorite dead men.

John Angell James on Adam’s rib in Female Piety:

It has been often shown that by being taken from himself, she was equal to man in nature; while the very part of the body from which she was abstracted indicated the position she was intended to occupy. She was not taken from the head, to show she was not to rule over him; nor from his foot, to teach that she was not to be his slave; nor from his hand, to show that she was not to be his tool; but from his side, to show that she was to be his companion. There may perhaps be more of ingenuity and fancy in this, than of God’s original design; but if a mere conceit, it is at once both pardonable and instructive.

Got that, egalitarians? She was equal to man in nature, but she was intended to occupy a certain position. The real Adam’s rib is a companion. She is for Adam, not against him. And even though she submits to Adam, her purpose was not to be his slave (so many feminists argue her submissive role results in her oppression). Stop whining about women’s rights. You don’t have the right to rebel against God’s created order.

1Cor. 11:3:

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Let John Angell James speak on this verse:

The other expressions of the apostle in this passage are very strong. As Christ is the head, or ruler of man, so man is the head and ruler of woman, in the domestic economy. Man was made to show forth God’s glory and praise; to be in subordination to him, and only to him; while woman was created to be, in addition to this, the glory of man, by being in subordination to him, as his helper and his ornament. She was not only made out of him, but for him. All her loveliness, attractions, and purity, are not only the expressions of her excellence, but of his honor and dignity, since all were not only derived from him, but made for him.

His helper and his ornament. For him. All her loveliness, attractions and purity…expressions of his honor and dignity…made for him. Wow. Do Christian egalitarians have a problem with this? I know feminists probably hate these statements. I’m reminded of Proverbs 31, where God says:

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

As Christians, we are to love sacrificially, as Christ loves us. Wives serving husbands is part of serving Christ. It’s an expression of loving our Lord, as the example given in Ephesians 5 comparing the marriage relationship to the dynamic of Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5 and Mutual Submission

Many argue that Ephesians 5:21 supports the egalitarian view of husbands and wives mutually submitting:

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

But I guess they haven’t read the rest of the chapter:

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it

Continue reading