Who are you? If someone posed that question to you, how would you respond? Would your answer begin with your résumé --that is, what you do, or have done, to earn a living. If so, what about if/when you can no longer do what you do? Would you then be nobody? How often do we define ourselves by our work resumes? What about our life resumes--our legacies? On our life journeys, are we both resume builders and legacy builders? For some, the work they do for a living will ultimately be part of their legacy. Their work by its very nature will change or impact others' lives. But what about those of us whose work doesn't have such an impact on others? What will be our legacy? Are we doing anything other than what's necessary to sustain our lifestyles? Are we making a positive difference in the lives of others? Or is it all about us and ours? On the path to building our work resumes, it's worth making time to find and live our life purpose--something that serves others. Because when it's all said and done, our resumes will be discarded. Legacies live on.
I believe everyone has a story. Do we use our stories and, if so, how? For example, do we use our stories solely as a way of generating sympathy for ourselves (the woe is me chronicles), or do we use our stories to help others? In other words, do we share the glory in our stories?
I know, I know, some of our stories are shameful. Plenty of folks' lives include something about which they're ashamed. Some of our stories are painful. Who has lived a life without some measure of pain? And then there's the no one else would understand way of thinking. Others may/will judge us. Yes, they will. But here's the thing, others judge us without knowing our stories, so what difference does it make? And they have some things in their lives they aren't too happy to share. Believe that! So again, what difference does it make? Take away any power you're giving others by telling your own story. Telling your story doesn't mean you have to put your business on full blast--no blog, Facebook or Twitter confessions necessary. There's nothing wrong with only sharing your story with someone you've determined is trustworthy. Or, a conversation with a perfect stranger may encourage you to share your story with them. And if you happen to have a life's worth of stories (some folks' lives have been more robust than others'), you don't have to tell it all. But surely there's something you can share that would help someone else.
It's crucial to look for the lesson in any situation and, once learned, to pass it on. That's how we support and build up each other. By refusing to allow our stories to define or limit us, we give them limitless potential when we share them to aid, encourage, and/or empower others. In the process, we do the same for ourselves.
Maybe the only glory in your story is character building. That's okay as when something is being built, it's on the way up. The tearing down has already occurred. Time to move on. Your new building is the glory in your story. How about giving a tour?
We look at people all the time, but do we see them? Don't we all want to be seen? Seeing others requires that we take our eyes off ourselves. It sometimes requires viewing others through an unfiltered lens. Accepting others for who they are as opposed to who we want, or believe, them to be. If we're always viewing others through filtered lenses, we might miss signs of growth, change. Seeing others requires that we actually take time to listen, maybe examine them. How often do we ask someone how they're doing and before they have time to formulate an answer we've moved on or begun to say something else? We live and work with people we don't see. Seeing people requires an investment. But that requires time, right? And who has much of that? But if we don't take the time, there's an inherent risk. Because we make decisions based on our perceptions of people we don't see. And, sometimes, the rug is pulled out from under us. We feel blindsided by someone's actions whose response to "Why?" is, "Do you see me?!"
Are you a dreamer? A striver? Drank your fill of life but find that you're thirsty for more? Have a listen to the song, "Here's to Life", as interpreted by the late, great, incomparable songstress, Ms. Shirley Horn. And as the song says: "May all your storms be weathered, and all that's good get better. Here's to life . . . here's to love . . . here's to you!"
I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. Some years have been better than others. I readily admit to being imperfect--still very much under construction. If we're honest, aren't we all? Anyway, I'm fortunate to have loved ones who tell me where I need some work.
Many years ago, I had a friend share something with me that truly convicted my spirit. One morning she was listening to a radio talk show where the host asked, "Who is the most cussin' Christian you know?" She said my name flew from her lips. Well, I could have taken offense or immediately gone into denial. Instead, that slap of brutal truth caused me to look into the mirror of my life and make an immediate correction. Clearly, my language was a reflection of what was in my heart. I needed some reconstruction. Although I can't say I'm not prone to a choice word every now and then (I believe in honesty!), should that question be posed again, no one will immediately think of the me I am today. I'm happy about that, and thankful that I have people in my life who hold me accountable for what I say I believe.
I fondly remember my grandfather telling me that when I stubbed my toe I should say, "thank you, Jesus." Really?! To my surprise, he was serious. Well, I'm nowhere near that. N-O-W-H-E-R-E! But I got his point. My default in the midst of pain--be it physical or otherwise--should be to call on Jesus. Well, at least I can say I no longer hold the title of "the most cussin' Christian" someone knows. Going now to put on my hard hat and tool belt. More (re)construction to do.