What Defines You?
by Joan Kelley, onelifemaps Facilitator
Have you considered what defines you or who you let define you?
I was doing some reading today and thinking about what defines a person and perhaps what doesn’t. I know for a fact cancer does not define my son, Will, or our family even though that’s probably one of the top three facts someone would use to describe our family right now. I was introduced to someone I didn’t know from our neighborhood the other day. She said “hmm…your name sounds familiar.” I’m pretty sure I know why – it’s because she had heard about a boy with the name Kelley who has cancer. But I’m not about to let leukemia be a defining portion of our family. At the Christmas service at church, there was a point where they had people share brief parts of their story. One I remember vividly was a woman saying, “Divorce does not define me!” Amen to that! I’ve seen how society can make a person feel that way.
So what does define you? I heard a good question the other day. It was something like “what word or phrase would you be willing to wear on a t-shirt 24/7 if it were meant to define you or say something about what you believe to be true?” There was a line of t-shirts that I loved that just said ‘be’ on the front. I liked this idea a lot. Be present, be hopeful, be a friend, be loved, be courageous. I think it boils down to being yourself. Be the person no one else can be and be settled and comfortable that this is enough. Be the person that God dreamed of when he made the stars and moon and sky. Be your true self, not what you think your parents want or your spouse or your friends or society wants. When we are being ourselves, we are a gift to others and not a burden. We waste less time, expend less emotional energy, and our decisions are easier because our outer actions match our inner being. But when we find our true selves, we need to learn to be settled and comfortable enough with that person to celebrate the uniqueness and grow into it in a richer, fuller way of living the days we have been given. I wonder if we be courageous enough to let ‘being’ define each of us.
Scripture: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:14-16
Question: What word or phrase would you choose for your t-shirt?
Joan Kelley is a facilitator and teacher who uses the Listen to My Life: Maps for Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story, a visual workbook for small groups, mentoring relationships, workshops, retreats, classes, between spiritual friends, or individually to re-discover the storyline of the life they are authoring with God. More information is available at www.onelifemaps.com. Joan writes a daily blog at www.caringbridge.org/visit/willkelley.