Life / The Refined Collective

The Refined Collective // Layers


Photo c/o Emily Scott

Woman. Daughter.  Sister.  Friend.  Christian.  Editor.  Speaker. Single. Photographer.  Writer.  Speaker.  Entrepreneur.

This tells you what I am, but it doesn’t tell you who I am.  There’s a big difference between what I am and who I am.   ‘What’ is one dimensional.

Who we are is multi-faceted—full of endless layers.


When we meet people it’s easy to ask, ‘what do you do?’  It’s drilled into our culture.  Society screams, You matter because of what you are and what you do.  Each time we ask it, we affirm that what we do is actually who we are.

If that’s case, we live in a flat and boring world.

Lately I have been tired — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And I haven’t been able to figure out why, because I prioritize rest and self-care.  But even after a day off, my wick seems shorter.

Recently I was at a retreat focused on rest.  I was tired, but I went anyway, praying God would have something for me in it.  And He did.

One of the first things we journaled about was ‘our work beneath the work.’  We have the work we do and the roles we fulfill on a daily basis.  We put in the hours, climb the corporate and social ladders.  This alone is taxing.

But layered beneath this is another type work.  It’s the thing churning from deep within that really drives us.

What are you looking for work to fulfill:

  • Your identity?
  • Your worth?
  • Your value?

Who are you trying to prove yourself to:

  • Your dad?
  • A coach?
  • An ex?

I have slipped into all of the above at different points in my life.  During the retreat God revealed that my exhaustion isn’t coming from lack of rest from my work—it’s a lack of rest from the churning work beneath the work.

I struggle with looking to the things I do to fulfill and validate me.  And often, I live like I’m the captain of my ship—responsible for my future and all that is around me. When I slip into that mindset, exhaustion is not far behind.

The reality is, if my future is completely up to me, and if I only matter because of the roles I carry and the things I accomplish— that is cause for distress.

It is a hamster wheel that will never stop. A ladder with no final rung.  We’ll always be looking for more.

Augustine profoundly wrote, “our souls are restless until they find rest in [God].”   As important as it is to prioritize physical rest, if we don’t address what drives us at a deeper level, we may never find true rest.

Are you tired? Beneath the titles, the roles, the work—who are you and what drives you?

What would it feel like if you released the work beneath your work?

We are more than what we do.  Let’s start living that way.




This series is a part of The Refined Collective.  Be sure +  check out these lovely ladies + their thoughts on Layers:  Brynn Watkins, Jackie Viramontez, Rebecca Hajek, Jessica HoffmanJulien Garman, and Yvette Jain.   Outfit via:  Vetta Capsule, Freda Salvador, Vele, + AYR.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *