Self-branding is the hot buzzword for career builders, but it’s an obsolete term for faith walkers.
I love breakfast. It doesn’t matter whether you serve ham and eggs with OJ or a steaming stack of flapjacks hot off the griddle. Invite me over for breakfast, and you’ll never be a stranger in my home.
Out here in Silicon Valley, California, though, there’s a special breakfast joint called Buck’s of Woodside. They’ve made a name for themselves as “the” place to meet, where shiny new start-ups woo deep-pocketed venture capitalists.
By the time the coffee’s been poured and the check’s been paid, the hope is that a match has been made in high-tech heaven, and someone is on their way to the top of the ticker on Wall Street.
The ability to persuade someone to make that investment rests heavily on getting them to buy into the company’s potential.
All that means, however, is that you’ve got to go and market yourself.
To make sure others notice you, there’s a hot buzzword called self-branding among today’s career builders.
Self-branding’s been around for the past decade, since management coaching guru Tom Peters wrote the seminal article, “The Brand Called You“.
There’s even a book that came out earlier this year called, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Branding Yourself“.
You are the CEO of Me, Inc.
According to the world, whether you and I make a name for ourselves in this life depends on what we do and say to convince others of our importance.
This kind of self-promotional thinking doesn’t just happen in the workplace.
It can bleed into our spiritual identity and affect how we relate to God.
Brokering For An Identity
Although I know that God’s called me to purpose, I sometimes find myself unsure about how much I’m worth to Him.
Am I good enough to be used by God?
Does He find me valuable?
These questions pop up when I feel insecure. I’m especially vulnerable whenever my circumstances don’t match up with the plans I think God has for me.
I wonder if I’ve fallen out of favor with Him.
Even as faith walkers, we can’t underestimate how alluring the messages of personal empowerment are to our earth-bound souls.
When I evaluate my identity based on results I can see and positive circumstances, I focus more on trying to make things happen, rather than enjoying what God has for me right now.
In other words, I start looking to God as if He were the venture capitalist, the prospective buyer, who is still mulling over how much I am worth to the Kingdom.
The fear of anonymity and insignificance subtly turns my walk with Christ into a brokering for an identity.
Okay, God. If I yield in this area, does that mean I’ve gained more equity with you, now?
I move from being a child of God and a lover of His soul into a potential job candidate, seeking to get God to invest His Kingdom in me.
I become a beggar, grasping for belonging, orphaned from meaning and purpose.
The Highest Bidder
How foolish of me — when the reality is that I have already been sold to the highest bidder!
“You are not your own; you were bought with a price.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Moved by great love, Jesus gave Himself, totally, in exchange for me. I don’t need to prove my worth to Him.
Quite the opposite is true.
I need to exchange my strivings for God’s love to transform me.
In the absence of self-branding, I yield and God shapes my path. The more I give myself over to God’s hidden work of the heart, the more I understand and experience his favor.
A Quiet Breakfast
The world may execute transactions of power at a fancy breakfast spot, but Christ calls me to come quietly to Him each day.
No need to bring or be anything.
“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No,’ they answered…
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread…
Jesus to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’.” John 21:4-13
Away from the clamor, Jesus calls us friends. With bread and fish, he prepares breakfast for us.
Speaking words of love and encouragement, Jesus steadies our walk and adds confidence to our gait. His plan and purpose for us remains.
Jesus, I remember. I come.