I spent a lot of my childhood imagining what I would do or have when I grew up. I spent very little time contemplating who I would be. As I grow older I realize there is a vast difference between those concepts.
It may surprise you to learn that I really don’t consider myself to be a teacher, or writer, or photographer, or gardener. In truth I am an intelligent, talented, skilled woman striving to do those things, partly because they define how and where I can live, but mostly because they make me happy.
Years ago our pastor preached a message with an intriguing title: “If you ARE what you DO, then when you DON’T, you AREN’T”. At the time his focus was on the businessmen in the congregation who were spending more time on their careers than their spiritual lives or even their families. His message had even more impact because someone we all knew had died within six months of retirement. However, some of us gleaned a few more general principals from his message. I for one didn’t want to be labeled as mother or teacher or wife or writer since my life was so much more complex than any one label could convey. And I also didn’t want to be defined by what I did, in case I chose to do something else.
I am amused by people who spend hours listing, posting, and dreaming about what they will have or do someday. We all devote a certain amount of time and energy to dreaming, but new technology and websites have made “I want” and “I like” into obsessions for some people. I want to “be ___” is a far riskier endeavor than posting a picture of a pretty kitchen you want to have some day. I want to “be braver” for example might only be accomplished by facing fear and/or danger. And never desire to be more patient! God took me seriously one year and taught me greater patience by preventing nearly everything I wanted to do and making me wait, wait, wait for it.
So…I am still doing many of the things I did when I was younger. But my goals are to be smarter, kinder, braver, stronger, healthier, happier, and wealthier with each advancing year. Those goals require much more time and effort than pinning a pretty picture on a bulletin board. They require a commitment to be a better person…starting with today.
Have a great day!