So, here I am—starting over, stepping over, stepping through. I’ve come to a crossroads and life is changing, shifting, moving—again. The last nine years has been a whirlwind of commitment, purpose, and consuming demands. I’ve been a soldier in the US Army for nearly a decade, I’ve had a title, a drive, and clearly defined goals. And now, suddenly, I’m about to be a civilian. Wow, it’s been a while since I called myself one of those!
Friends and family continually ask me, “What are you going to do now?” And currently, I’m learning to be OK with the answer, “I don’t know…nothing, right now!”
Who you are and what you do are two completely different things, but it’s so easy to get them tangled up with one another, isn’t it? Our society puts a great deal of weight and value on an individual’s role or what a person does—it’s how we best carve out our identities. He is an analyst, a dad, a cook, a writer, a husband, a surfer—she is a student, a sister, a lawyer, a runner, a daughter.
But for the sake of growing and becoming a better person, I want to get back to the who am I deep down inside, the things that describe me at my core.
As I revisit the basics, I’ve been considering a few answers to the question, “Who am I?” Well, first, I’m a human being (this means I have intrinsic value), I’m also made in God’s likeness (this means I have a purpose), I’m deeply relational (I connect both physically and spiritually), I desire to create (an ability which makes me uniquely human), I enjoy the simple pleasures of food, quiet thought, smell, and touch, and I’m compelled by a strong sense of justice, truth, and compassion. Finally, I have the ability to change, for good or for bad, only one person in the entire world—myself.
Do you know who you are? I mean at the core. If not, it’s worth carving out some time for reflection. Maybe you’re just being what society thinks you should be, or maybe you’re trying to fill shoes that aren’t yours to fill. Perhaps you’re trying to be someone else because you’ve lost your own way. It’s Ok. We’ve all done it. But we shouldn’t stay that way.
Right now, I don’t have much of a plan. I planned to have things “all worked out” before I signed that last official form releasing me from the authority of old “Uncle Sam.” But, nope, I’ve got nothing but a few random ideas and a stack of books on interesting topics. I’ve definitely had a few freak-out moments and there are sure to be a few more—I mean, I don’t usually go into new life chapters this way. I usually have a plan and a very clear outline. A then B and then C with lots of subcategories for each—that’s how I do things. But not this time. This time, I’m getting out of my comfort zone—I’m very uncomfortable right now—and I’m stepping on to very unfamiliar ground. But on the other hand, it feels really good.
I may have 45-50 years left on earth to do the things that only I can do and be who I was designed to be. Our lives are so busy and muddled from the constant “doing” that it’s easy for our lives to get lost in the crowd. I don’t want to miss my life—not now, not later. Have you lost your focus, have you forgotten what really matters? Do you just need a reset? It’s not too late. Take an hour, take a minute to stop, ask and listen. Your life is special, it has value, and you don’t want to miss it.
Photo Credit: Flickr/prodigy130