Recently I have slipped into thinking I am defined by what I consume. For example, if I buy this REI shirt that will make me more of an outdoors person. Or if I found a clever deal for a bike rack on Craigslist, it will show the world how frugal I am and make me more of a biker. Or if I wait to buy a new TV, that shows that I have self-control and am not going beyond my financial means.
I also start zeroing in on what I will buy in the future. I spend a lot of time curating shopping lists, or finding the right reviews, and trying to decide whether I will buy a thing this month or next month based on my budget.
This is silly. My identity is not defined by what I buy, when I buy it, or whether I had good self discipline. I think I have been too much focused on how these exterior things define me.
Instead, I want to focus on things I create, adding value to the world instead of just consuming value. So for example, at work, I should be getting my projects done on time, and creating value by collaborating with my coworkers effectively. At home, I can create value by caring for others in a sacrificial way. I can create value by writing blog posts, or by being a good steward of things I already own. I want to have a vision for the future that is defined by how I will be faithful to God, not by how I will be faithful to my budget.