Friday, February 9, 2018

What We Do Is Not Who We Are by Dennis Ricci

Dennis Ricci

We call ourselves “writers.” But today, author Dennis Ricci challenges us to dig deep and change our perspectives. By the way, how do you view your identity? ~ Dawn

What We Do 
is Not Who We Are

You are not a writer. Nor am I.

Oh, we write. A lot. We craft stories that show a dying world who God is and how He works through people. We want our stories to bend the cultural narrative toward seeing the Father and his unconditional love through Jesus.

But “writer” is not who we are.

I’ve recently led our men’s group through a discovery tool called The Purpose Train, developed by Stephen K. De Silva. It helps people discover their purpose, vision, strategy and daily choices and actions (“tactics”) so they can streamline the life decisions they make. It’s helping me make big changes, and I believe you’ll find it helpful too. Here’s a graphic representation:

Identity: Who we believe we are in Christ, and who we believe God uniquely made us to be, is the “track” on which our lives will travel. Proverbs 4:23 teaches us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” We share a common family identity—sons and daughters. But we each have a personal identity as unique as our physical appearance. Some stop at “child of God”—a sure foundation, but there is more.

Purpose: Our understanding of our purpose is the “engine” that pulls us through life. We have a collective purpose—love God, love people, make disciples—and a specific purpose He prepared for us long ago. If our beliefs about identity and purpose align with God’s intentions, our “engine” will pull us down the right track. The way to be sure is to continually seek Him and listen.

Vision: God created each of us to bear unique fruit. Ideally, our vision aligns with God’s designed output of our life—what we produce and who we become in the process. We have the joy of discovering vision as we walk with Him.

Strategy: The things we will do and won’t do to manifest our vision. We can make our own decisions and plans about strategy, but we know the Lord gives the right answer if we seek Him for it (Proverbs 16:1).

Writer, then, is not who we are but the strategic choice we make to use our gifts and talents. We may be called to write—a specific project or type of stories—or we may write because it makes us come alive, and we do it as an offering to Him. Writing proceeds from our identity.

Tactics: Our “action plan”—our daily choices and actions to execute our strategies. I’m best equipped to stay faithful to strategies if I pursue daily, intimate communion with the Lord. My biggest challenges are allowing the “urgency of the moment” or “how I’m feeling today” to push my life train forward.

By the way…I’ve discovered a secondary benefit of using this model—as a character development tool. True character is revealed when people are forced to choose between irreconcilable goods or the lesser of two evils. Try using the Purpose Train to imagine your characters’ understanding of their identity and purpose and vision for their lives, which become the centers of conflicts they are thrust into and engage.

PS: I’d be happy to share the tools I developed for helping our men’s group apply the Purpose Train to their lives and my own personal example. Click here to email me.


Federal judge Edward Lamport is no stranger to controversy and danger. Nine months into his tenure, he’s received two death threats and is under the protection of US Marshals. But when he receives a plea for help from a woman with whom he had a brief romance twenty-five years earlier, he must face a peril of a different sort, one that involves his long-lost son, Carlos.

While working for a bank in his native Mexico, Carlos discovers an international money-laundering scheme. Now he’s on the run from those who want him dead. To get the young man asylum in the United States, Lamport appeals to his highest connections in Washington, only to find puzzling dead ends at every turn. Caught between law and love, he’s forced to take the matter into his own hands. With only his faith in God to guide him, how far is he willing to venture into the dark recesses of political corruption to save his son?

Before penning fiction, Dennis Ricci worked as a freelance marketing strategist, copywriter, and instructional designer. He also mentors aspiring writers, conducts writing workshops, and advises marketing professionals on strategy and content. Ricci lives in Thousand Oaks, California, with his wife, Jill, where they serve their community through a Healing Rooms ministry dedicated to praying for the sick. He has three grown children with whom he loves spending time at Los Angeles Kings hockey games, especially when they play his hometown Detroit Red Wings.

To connect and learn more, please visit:

Twitter: @DRicciAuthor