Just so you know, I like to be real when I write. I’ve offended many people along the way with that philosophy but it’s who I am. Some people read what I write and question why I would share my stories with total strangers. Some of you I know in “real” life and MANY of you I will never know anything about. For me, that’s ok. I don’t share any of my stories for accolades. Many times I am just sharing in the hopes that I touch the heart of someone who needs to “feel” that they are normal. I like to hope that I am not the only person who struggles in this crazy carnival ride of “life”.
I’m 37 and am still trying to figure out “who I am”. Is that crazy or what? Life circumstances “shape” who you are but it doesn’t need to “define” who you are. Does that make sense? I’ll repeat it….
Life circumstances “shape” who we are but they don’t need to “define” who we are.
SHAPE means to influence the development of something or to help something become what it is.
DEFINE means to state the “precise” meaning of.
Clear as mud, right?!?
Think of it this way…
It’s time for your loved ones to plan your funeral. You’re gone. There will be many stories about the life that shaped who you were. Those stories are simply that - they shaped who you were as a person.
What defines you (your definition) is something so much greater though! The definition itself says the “precise” meaning. In its definition “precise” means clearly expressed.
This isn’t a lesson in English so please stay with me.
Look again...at the end of this life do you want to look down and say – this is the life that shaped me. Take it or leave it. These are the circumstances that I overcame and these are the circumstances that overcame me.
Do you want to look down and say, no matter what life threw my way and what circumstances I was faced with, this is the definition of who I am!
Are you deciding who you are or are you letting your circumstances decide that?
I know firsthand it’s so easy to let circumstances dictate how you live your life. It’s easier than way. Why can’t I just live my life and deal with what’s thrown my way and move on. Why does it always have to be so complicated?
No one ever said life was simple. Almost everywhere I go I hear people say how “hard” this life is.
What’s shaped me? Lots of things! Good and bad.
I grew up without my real dad. My mom struggled to give my brother and I anything that we wanted. Dancing brought me many years of happiness. I became a teenage mother (18). I lost all my childhood friendships due to my selfishness. I married my high school boyfriend only to be divorced less than two years later. I had a second child which I lost to SIDS. I struggled being a single mom. I lost a grandfather who was very near and dear to my heart. My mother fought breast cancer (AND WON). I’ve had financial problems that have made Mt. Everest seem like an ant hill. I’ve married my best friend. I’ve been blessed with FOUR beautiful children. I tragically lost a niece who was like a daughter to me. I’ve grown in Christ and failed him again. I’ve lost MANY loving relationships that may be unrepairable. I’ve made friends who will be there til the end of time.
The list truly could go on and on. I could list a million bad circumstances and a million good.
Is that who I am though? Am I the grief that comes with all the obstacles that I’ve encountered? Sometimes it sure feels that way. Am I the reason for some of the obstacles? SURE!!
So how does that define me?? I’m still trying to figure that out. You know why? Because we all do until the day that our time on earth is done. For anyone that knows me, they know that I am a selfish person. There is no secret to that. I could say it’s because I’ve dealt with pain in my life but it's not. It’s just easier to worry about myself and not get my feelings caught up in getting hurt again.
That’s not what my heart yearns for though. I want my definition at the end of my life to be this…
BETH: at peace with herself; one who embodied a servant’s heart; a joyful person; a loving and nurturing mother and friend; loyal, faithful and trustworthy; generous and dignified.
That’s a tall order I am holding myself to and it's scary!
I know there are going to be days when my husband leaves the toilet seat up for the umpteenth time and I’m not going to want to be loving. There will be nights when I’m cleaning up puke from yet another sick kid and I’m not going to want to have a servant’s heart. Or the times when the world is falling around me and it’s hard to stay faithful.
It is my definition though and what I want my life defined as. What’s yours?