Defining You – For Guys Only (By Jason Stasyszen)

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for another GUYS ONLY post and today’s special guest blogger is my sweet friend, Jason Stasyszen. Yep, that’s the same sweet Jason that co-facilitates the Wednesday book discussions with me. You can visit his site, Connecting to Impact, for more of his insightful writing, but for today, I’m glad to have him here, sharing with us. Here’s Jason:

I was intrigued when Sarah asked me if I would be interested in writing a “guys only” post. I’m definitely a guy, but I’m not a guy’s guy. I live in Alaska and love the outdoors, but never go hunting and hardly go fishing. Maybe that’s why God called me to Alaska instead of some of you!

After settling the “guy’s guy” dispute in my head, I struggled to find a topic. Anne covered our treatment and respect for women when she posted two weeks ago—wonderful and amazing.  We could talk about lust, but I didn’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. Then I thought about something that we men struggle with quite a bit: definition and self-worth.

I guess it’s not so much the defining as it is where and how we derive our self-worth. We can get messed up pretty quickly.

It’s the reason pastors compare size of churches, businessmen compare profit margins, neighbors compare class of cars and houses (as well as hotness of wives), and some just go straight for comparing the size of their you-know-whats.  There is generally a compulsion to “bring home the bacon.” We define ourselves and our worth on what we do, what we provide, and how much we bring to the table. 

To some degree this is how we are wired, but we have to be careful, especially as Christians.  If we let the wrong things define us—whether our jobs, social status, power, influence, whatever—we are missing the boat.

Jesus made Himself nothing on our behalf. He had it all—the glory of heaven—and poured it out as an offering to honor His Father. We have to be ready to do the same.  He didn’t allow others’ definitions, opinions, traditions, culture, or social norms to deter Him from His purpose. His worth was washed in eternal perspective, not earthly motivations.

Aristotle is quoted as saying, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

I want to ask each of us today, what are your defining characteristics? If you asked the people who know you best, would they agree with your assessment?

Would those closest to you say you’re defined by passion, integrity, kindness, vision, or something like that? Or would they say you’re defined by apathy, selfishness, ambition, greed, or something more on those lines?

If Aristotle is right and we are what we repeatedly do (not what we wish we would do), then our definition may not be what we were hoping.  We may think we’re being a good provider when all anyone around us can see is a detached father.  We may think we’re doing the right thing by climbing the ladder by whatever means necessary while others see unbridled ambition and selfishness.

The hope for all those in Jesus is that even though we may repeatedly do something, there is always grace for transformation. We can do something different and it can start today. First up is being a man of prayer and asking God for help with what we do.

We also have to come back to God’s first definition of us as adopted sons in a love relationship with the Father. We want others to see the light of Christ shining through us, but we can never make that a habit if we are focused on our own definition of worth (or the world’s).

Excellence is not an act, but a habit.  The same is true for passion, love, kindness, generosity, tenacity, perseverance, and the godly life He has called us to in Christ Jesus.

I know I fall short, but I also know I’m not giving up.  I’ve defined myself by my usefulness, my talents, my abilities, my compensation, my willingness, my job, and so many other things. Those things fluctuate and can’t sustain happiness. They can’t be where I derive my worth or what I allow to define me.

I realize it’s an ugly, scary question, but I’ll ask it again, what is your defining characteristic? If you don’t like your answer, what do you want it to be and how are you going to get there?

About Sarah Salter


  1. Jason, I hope it’s okay that I could identify with the thought-provoking piece you’ve written.
    (Well, I identified with most of it.)

    I wonder not only if others would agree with my assessment of myself, but how different that assessment would be in the various circles of my life—husband, children, long-distance family, church family, business associates, social media family, acquaintances, and strangers.

  2. It’s more than okay, Anne! Guys may deal with it more, but I know some of it definitely crosses gender lines. I also know what you mean about how different groups would see me. That brings a whole new layer of thought to it! Thank you, Anne.

  3. Touche… Too often I find myself seeking definition in what I am doing instead of whose I am.

    I am because HE is in me. I do because HE is in me.

    Thank you for the poignant reminder.

  4. I’ve been guilty as well.

  5. I know, I’m not a guy, so I may be cheating in answering. But this post hit way to close to home — I’m afraid I define myself too much by extrinsic measures of success…from my job, to how many blog followers I have, to how ambitious and driven to succeed I am. Not that ambition and drive are bad qualities…it’s just that more often I am driven to succeed to please myself, rather than God.

    Thanks for the reality check, Jason.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Michelle- It’s not cheating… And thank you for your openness. I think we’ve all been there!

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