Why Define Yourself?
In the art world, new artists begin their journey with simple forms and graduate to more complex styles, mediums and perspectives. Once they’ve developed their craft, they then attempt to emulate the great masterpieces of the art world. In doing so, most artists discover their own style.
Each great artist, though they may change throughout their career, has a uniquely recognizable quality. To the crowd of witnesses, even from a distance, you can distinguish a Monet can be distinguished from a Renoir, or a Picasso from a Degas. These prodigious craftsmen have defined themselves and their purpose. They may try out a new style but will generally specialize in one genre of painting. What makes them so extraordinary? They’ve researched, tried out, and developed what they are doing. They spend energy returning to the basics, they focus on their strengths. Because the artists have defined who they are and what they do best, they are known for their recognizable style.
Like the artists, we too must take the time to define ourselves. To deny defining ourselves, we limit our ability to succeed. Like a treadmill, we are moving but going nowhere. Our personal gifting will go no farther than the end of the rotating belt.
When we are younger, we may try on several personalities. Often, we learn more about who we are by failing at who we are not. There will be parts of each trial run that ring true to us and will be useful when we paint the entire picture of who we are.
We might even try living our lives by someone else’s interpretations. We move with their rules, we believe what they believe. There’s nothing wrong with starting out that way, but there must be a time when you question everything and make it answer to who you are becoming.
Trauma can stunt our maturity. Until we deal with it, we will remain the emotional age we were when the trauma took place. Take the time to define the situations, discover the right and wrong of it, then plan to move forward. This may be as simple as acknowledging what happened or years in the making. Whatever it takes, strategize to move forward in your own definition of who you are and what matters to you.
Perhaps you’ve been through the trauma of divorce, been abused or struggle with addictions. Not only do these ordeals create suffering, dependence, slanted and shallow thinking, but they stunt emotional maturity. They can kill your confidence, and shatter your self-esteem.
Perhaps you were raised with a the good-girl syndrome and are afraid to take risks. Try to see your life through adult eyes rather than the rules you’ve now outgrown. They were perhaps good rules then, but they no longer fit the situations now.
Learned patterns from childhood hold us captive to old ideas of who we are or who we are supposed to be. Survival may have been your only defining thought. It’s time to realize you are better than those defeating beliefs and it’s time to take your rightful place in blessing the world by becoming who you have been fearfully designed to be.
Who’s the thief in your life? We often look for reasons outside of ourselves for our lack of fullness and purpose in life. Truth is, we are usually our own stumbling blocks. We hold ourselves back or are afraid to define our talents. We might actually have to re-define ourselves and then there would be no more excuses for settling for our own mediocrity.
Perhaps a few steps of moving forward look like this:
Forgive yourself: The word forgive means to forget. The word forget does not mean we’ve erased our thoughts, it means we have willfully chosen to ignore them.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead… Philippians 3:13
List your fears: Make a list of all the things that keep you from being successful. Now list things you can do to bring about change. You might discover that the simple act of writing them down, helps you acknowledge them, and solve them. Others will take a blueprint map to get you to where you want to go.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (KJV)
Emulate: Find someone who has overcome their fear of change, defined themselves and their purpose, then ask them how they did it. You’ll walk away with golden tidbits to use on your journey. People want to see you succeed. Your designer wants you to be all you can be.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
Be Fearless! There will be things you cannot change, but that means there are things you can change. Invest in the things that allow the greatest definition of who can become and then press on to become all of that. Each of us have been given a gift, and we often mistakenly believe it is for us. Our finest hour is when we have defined our gifts, polished them to a sparkling shine and then handed them over to others.
Ask yourself some pointed questions:
What gift will you give away?
What first step can be taken to define yourself?
What is a reasonable deadline to accomplish this task?
Now you are in a stronger position to paint your canvas. The artist in you has begun to move toward the truer version of you! Throw all the paint on your canvas you can! Define yourself to be the person you are created to be!