Friday, February 19, 2010

Definition of Myself

I was in Bible Study class recently and one of the points of the lesson stated, "Do not allow yourself to be defined by your past mistakes." I think it hit home because I had been doing just that. I had imagined people looking me in the face and telling me that I was ok and then judging me behind my back. I could imagine them saying things like, “I can’t believe she did that! Poor girl really messed her life up this time.” Or, “Well, she knew better than that and now she’ll just have to deal with the consequences.” In reality, I’m sure there may have been some people who have said those things. Shoot! I’ve said those things about myself!
It’s like the football player who ran the wrong way. Now I’m not much of a football fan so I don’t know who this guy was or what team he played for. But I do know that there is only one direction to run in that game for any one team to get ahead and this guy ran the opposite of that. The opposing team didn’t stop him because he was scoring points for them. He thought all the people screaming at him were cheering him on. Later it was said that he felt like that one mistake had ruined, not only his career, but his entire life. He defined himself by that mistake and by what people may have said about him afterward. No matter how well he had ever played before or after, that is the thing that people would always remember. He knew the rules to the game. He knew better than to run the way he ran. I don’t know what happened so I can only speculate. Maybe he got confused and disoriented during all of the excitement of the game. Perhaps he was under a lot of stress to perform well and it overwhelmed him. Possibly he was distracted by the prestige of being a star or maybe he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. We don’t know!! What we do know is that he never really recovered from his mistake. In a way, it is somewhat understandable. On the other hand, I wish he had been strong enough refuse being defined by that debacle because it has led to a life of misery for him.
For me, I refuse to be defined by the mistakes I make. I know my failures and shortcomings. Most of the time I am tempted to take only those things in to consideration when I inventory my life. However, from this point forward, I intend to define myself in a different way. I’m a child of the King, a member of royalty. As such, I am blessed with a rich heritage that, yes, makes mistakes but is able to rise above them with grace and honor. Because I watch my Father and try to imitate Him, I have developed a character that proves to be strong. I have found a strength that causes me to persist even when people tell me I can’t make it or that I’m ruined. I’ve learned to take things in stride and trust that my Father is in control of the entire kingdom and is negotiating for me. Because I am His offspring, I care for people (sometimes too much), I forgive, I love, I respect, and I give. I am honest and kind and I have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others. So remember me as “the girl who messed up” if you are so inclined. I refuse to be defined that way. I hope you also will take an honest inventory of your life and decide how you would like to be defined and just go for it.

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