Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Defining Me

We often see young girls in their teens and describe them as 'trying to figure out who they are.' They are 'testing the waters' of life and discovering who they are apart from Mom or Dad or peers. This hits a lot of girls in their college years as well. As I was thinking about it the other day, I realized that we as women never truly come to a conclusion. We are always seeking to find who we truly are! As a young woman we are seeking to know what kind of woman we will become in life, in marriage what kind of wife, in motherhood what kind of parent...it continues on our whole lives. Who am I?

The mirror does not define me. You may not look like the air-brushed model on the cover of Vogue. You most likely do not even look like you did ten years ago. You most likely don't weigh what you did ten years ago either! And everyone knows that I have a different hairstyle, and color, to fit the season! I have learned, however, that I haven't changed. The girl in the mirror has, but who I am, truly am, is still the same. I'm me. And I am more than an image.

My home does not define me. Ok, you know it is all the rave to post and pin all your greatest triumphs. We all have a "wall" full of great ideas we will never do. We invision our living rooms in the latest colors with antiqued furniture, fragrant blooming flowering plants, handsewn curtains to compliment, and all our fancy handmade wall hangings. In reality, we have Grandma's hand-me down sofa, paint chipped wall that don't match our furniture, walls plastered with photos of our kids, and toys all over the room. We freak when people come over and we haven't had time to shove stuff in closets and vacuum once over! Why? Another lie. Our homes are meant to be places of refuge and loving memories, not a display of your value as a woman.

My activities do not define me. President of this club or that? Soccer coach? 4-H project leader? It leaves me hopping from one place to another, feeling overwhelmed, drained and not as good as I think it sounds. I want others to see what I do for the community and my family, because that is another way I seek to define me. The truth? Anybody can do it. I am not a list of accomplishments.

My husband does not define me. Ok, now we are getting deep. I learned early on in marriage that husbands often make choices the wives would not make. They say things we would not say and share things we would rather not share. They may have friends with those we don't get along with. And sometimes they fail. Their failure is not our failure. I also found that when he talked about hunting and motors that I listened with love, but not interest. Likewise, as I rattled off about my latest novel or some cultural tidbit I had learned while studying, I could see him fade away. It isn't that we don't love one another. It is that we are created differently, to function differently, and blend together beautifully. I must be my own person, not the person I believe he wants me to be, and then I will find that he loves me just as I am!

My children do not define me. This is probably the hardest one to swallow. You know that I spend 99% of my time on them? 90% of my photos in the album of myself are with them? That is what got me thinking on this whole thing to start with. Who am I when I am done raising them?  I spend so much of my time trying to raise my children in the best way possible. Then that moment strikes - they do something childish! As our kids grow, they begin to make friends on their own. They begin to make their own choices and have their own likes and dislikes. They become their own little person. While I had a hand in it, ultimately they will grow to be who God has designed them to be. All the running around and cleaning and disciplining and laundry and schooling and all the things we do as mothers are out of love for them. And then they will leave. As much as we believe, who we are does not hinge on our children. They are a part of our lives that we cherish and adore and pour ourselves into, but each of us has a unique way of mothering and it should not be judged or compared by any other mother. We are not defined in that way!

So, now that I have stripped away  in essence every part of who I believe that I am, then I am left wondering, how do I define me?

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10

I am a beautiful masterpiece of God. I have been uniquely made with gifts and talents, passions and preferences, quirks and character. He made me who I am so that I could do all those other things - the good works - which He planned for me to do from the beginning. The type of mother, wife, community leader, home-keeper and person that I am from inside to out is all from the outflow of the woman that God created me to be. In my uniqueness I will not be (and should not try to be!) like any other woman. I am me. I am a masterpiece. My Creator defines me.

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