So much depends on me being a good pastor, a good dad, a good friend. And when I fail, I’ve let them down.
How about you? Do you feel that so much depends on what you do?
Jesus does not demand that I accomplish all these tasks I set before myself. He doesn’t command me to carry the congregation on my back. My efforts will not save my people.
You, too. These things you feel you must accomplish every day? Do you feel that so, so much depends on you?
Remember who you are. Remember who your Savior is.
You did not die for anyone, and if you did, your death would not bring them to heaven. I need to hear this truth again: I am not anyone’s Shepherd. You are not their Shepherd. You are a sheep. Me, too. I’m a sheep, too. Don’t forget who you are.
And don’t forget who your Shepherd is.
Your Shepherd cares for you. Your Shepherd laid down his life for you, only to take it up again. And he doesn’t do that to guilt you. I know that your depression might make you feel worse when I say that. But did you know? “For the joy set before him.” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus didn’t look at you and sigh, “Fine, you get thrown in, too.” For the joy of rescuing you, his sheep, he has endured the cross, scorning its shame. He delights in rescuing you. He delights in paying with his blood for you. He delights in making you his own.
This is who you are. Not any of those roles you play. Not pastor. Not parent. Not employee. Not employer. Not friend. These things do not define who you are. If these things define who you are, you will always find anxiety, because those roles can be threatened. They can change. You are not the role you play.
You are Jesus’ child.
Do not forget who you are. If your identity is pastor, you will fail. If your identity is mom, you will never escape the darkness. If your identity is “pretty good person,” you will fall when you find out that maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.
But your identity is one that cannot be taken from you, because it's not based on what you do. It's based on what Jesus has done. Who you are does not depend on what you do.
And this goes to every role you have. My identity is not dad. Yes, I have children. I pray that in my role as father, I bring them up in the fear and instruction of the Lord. But just as my identity is not “good pastor” or “bad pastor,” my identity is not “good dad” or “bad dad.” If I fail my children, if I haven’t played with them today or I’ve been too harsh, I repent of any sins I have committed. I see again that Jesus has forgiven even that sin. But I am not “bad parent.”
My identity is secure. I am God’s son.
Your identity is secure, too. It’s not what you do.
It’s whose you are: Jesus, who bought you with his own blood. And he does not regret it.