I still don’t know him real well and probably never will. He was a friend of my cousins at one time, he traveled as a hobby to do short term missions, and ended up marrying my co-teachers sister. I sang with him at a wedding many years ago. He was quiet and appeared confident in his own skin. So, if I don’t know him, why am I talking about him at all? Because, he said something that is both simple and profound.
My co-teacher related to me a time when she was moaning to him about how she was intimidated by these “cool” people, and he asked, “Who decides who’s ‘cool?’”
Huh. Indeed. Who decided that anybody is any better than anybody else? Who defines who’s made it and who will never quite?
to state precisely the meaning of (words, terms, etc)
to describe the nature, properties, or essential qualities of
to determine the boundary or extent of
(often passive) to delineate the form or outline of: the shape of the tree was clearly defined by the light behind it
to fix with precision; specify[i]
This young man discovered that we can’t be defined by others unless we choose to define ourselves. To be defined is to be limited to certain boundaries and expectations.
God has been taking many years to teach me this lesson. You see, I tend to define myself by what I can do, and hence, I aim to do it perfectly. Talents God gave me to bless others with I kept under lock and key most of the time, not wanting to expose exactly who I was lest I be rejected.
One of these gifts was writing. The strange thing about spending so much time crafting words is that sometimes you say or write ideas that you’ve never actually taken to heart. This happened to me this week. I was typing an e-mail to a friend and these words appeared on the screen, “One of the biggest lessons God has been teaching me about writing is that it is a gift to be shared, not something that defines, diminishes, or elevates who I am.”
She sent back flying through cyberspace this truth, “I liked what you said about writing being a gift to share…it’s so easy for it to feel personal because it comes from so deep within. And therefore, it feels like it defines me as a person. I’ve been continuously learning the overarching lesson that God defines me. Period.” (Meghan)
Only God can define me. My abilities, looks, heritage, personality, and character can show part of who I am, but only God knows me entirely and can define who I am and who I will be.
[i] Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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