What Defines You?

28 Aug

“You cannot truly refer to yourself as an adult until you catch yourself getting really angry when the grocery store changes their layout.”  ~ Unknown

All I can say to today’s quote is “Been there.  Done that.  Got the t-shirt!”  I must be the exemplary adult because I really get riled with stores when they change their layouts over and over and over again.  I know the reason they do it.  I know that they want to keep us searching for our regular purchases so that we might see something else and impulse buy.  The rotating layout is good for their bottom line but it often unsettles many of us.

However, with all of that said and done, does that really define us as adults?  Does getting angry at changing layouts make the difference between a teenager and an adult?  I think not.  However, we often use many kinds of things to define who we are both in this world as well as in our spiritual lives.

When we reach a certain age, when we can vote, when we enter the military, when we move away from home and go to stay somewhere on our own: we often say that these things are the marks of an adult.  When we pray a lot, when we volunteer at homeless shelters or food pantries, when we visit the sick or shut-in: we often say that these things are the marks of someone who is truly holy.

Yet none of those individual characteristics defines us.  I have known many children and teens who were more “adult” than their peers or even than their teachers or parents.  I have known many adults that were more childish than adult.  I have known people who have volunteered to do many things but did them for selfish reasons.  I have known still others who did things for people in secret out of the holiness that drove them yet no one knew of their deeds.

What defines us comes from within.  We should worry less about the expectations of others being placed upon us and worry more about how what we say or do affects our relationship with God.  If we are doing what will be pleasing to God, we should not care what label others ascribe to us.  We are not here to live up to the expectations of others.  If we do that, we could get ourselves into serious trouble.  Rather, we should strive to live up to the expectations of God.

The only thing that should define us is the name that we have chosen for ourselves:  Christian.  Let not anger rule your life.  Let not unreal expectation control you.  Ask God what He wants of you and then ask Him to give you the wherewithal — the grace, the knowledge, the courage — to accomplish what He wants.

FAITH ACTION:  Try to see past the things that set you off and, instead, do all that you can to maintain an inner peace.