The question of what defines our identity is a very real one. For many men it is their work but this is not a good source of identity as it is uncertain and temporary. For those in vocational ministry it is often our ministry but again that is confusing vocation with who we are as a person. Identity is what we are without the external props that we often confuse for significance. This includes titles, incomes and accomplishments.
There are also those whose identity is wrapped up in an event in their lives such as long term illness, a death in the family or their own personal issues which are always on the forefront of their lives. After two serious health scares that should have taken my life there are those who connect me with those illnesses but they are simply events (serious that it was) that I walked through and my health does not form my identity. There is no question that God's grace in my life did help shape my understanding of Him!
Theologically, for the Christ follower, our identity is all about who we are in Christ, stripped of all the external trappings (Ephesians 1 and 2). This is a fact that stands apart from all circumstances, jobs, accolades, disappointments, or the good and bad that life throws our way. In Jesus we stand forgiven, we are made members of His eternal family, we have His Spirit resident in our hearts, and positionally sit with Jesus in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). All of His goodness has been lavished on us and we have the very power of His resurrection within us. We are sons and daughters of the King no matter what our life situation.
That being the fact, we have choices in how we view life and subsequently how others view us. I want to be defined by a transormational life that lives in the hope of God's work, the faith that He acts in our best interests, the significance of joining Him in that work (Ephesians 2:10), living in His grace daily and the joy of His presence. In other words I want my identity to be defined by Him because I was created by Him and for Him and He changes the equation of our lives in every way.
I don't want to be defined by my ministry role, job title, the books I have written or the places I have traveled. Those are all part of my life as are many other things. Ultimately I want to be defined by who I am in Jesus. Because when all else is stripped away, as eventually it is, who we are in Him is not only all that is left but it is the most important thing.