It’s no secret that we’re worker bees. At times, we might even admit we’re workaholics. We’re in our element in that go-go-go non-stop pace. As kids growing up, we got used to getting up early, going to school all day, spending all afternoon and evening at the dance studio or on the soccer field, finishing our homework late into the night, sleeping less than we needed to, and getting up and doing it all over again. It was a way of life. Something we started in middle school and adopted into college and our adult life. The funny thing is our schedule looks pretty similar now. It’s just the details that’ve changed. We don’t know any different. It’s our way of life. Maybe you’re the same way.
A friend told us recently that she struggles because she’s a grown adult but still feels like she’s earning gold stars. Measuring her success by her achievements. Never feeling fully satisfied, even when the accomplishments are big and great. We so get that. We really understand that. We’re that way, too. We’re pleasers and perfectionists, the first to think that what we’ve done isn’t good enough and the last to give ourselves a compliment, and when we finally get to the point where we can look back at something we’ve accomplished and say, “Wow, that’s really something. I’m proud of that,” it’s too late, because we’re on to the next thing.
For the longest time, our identities came from what we did instead of who we were. Amy was the dancer. Jordan was the soccer captain and future president. In college, when Amy stopped dancing, she had to find a new identity. When Jordan’s playing career ended with a knee injury, he had to find his. And, since we’d always identified ourselves by what we did, we did that… again. We became Mr. and Mrs. Demos, the fourth and fifth grade elementary school teachers. Then we became Amy and Jordan, professional photographers. Somewhere along that journey, from teachers to photographers, from employed to self-employed, from safety in our salaries to fear of our failures, we really grew in our faith, stopped identifying ourselves by what we did, and instead cared a lot more about who we were: a husband and wife who love Jesus and each other more than anything in the world, and a couple who wants to love and serve as many people as we can along the way.
Jordan’s brother told us something a long time ago in regard to work that we’ll never forget and that we repeat to people as often as we can. “We’re all replaceable,” he said, “Anyone can do our job. In fact, a lot of people can even do our jobs better than us. There is only one job in this world that no one else can do, and that’s to be a husband to your wife and a father to your children.” He went on, “If everyone focuses on those jobs more than they’re ‘work’ jobs, this world will be a much better place.”
Wow. That stuck. It must have, because we’re writing about it all these years later. We truly believe the most important job we have are the roles we have within our family. Whether you’re raising kids or living out your vows, that is more important than what any of us can list off under our list of career accomplishments. Now, we can’t sit here and promise that we won’t work our tails off, and we’ll probably still invest a few more hours than we should at our “work” jobs, because we love what we do and feel blessed that it’s our profession, but we can promise that, this Labor Day, we’ll remind ourselves that what we do isn’t who we are, unless it’s doing what we were created uniquely to do: love God and love each other.
We’d love it, friends, if you’d join us in doing the same, because, like Jordan’s brother explained, if we all adopt that perspective together, the world will be a much better place.