I am single. I am widowed. I am married. I am divorced. I am a mom. I have no children. I am a career woman. I stay at home. I am an artist. I am a cancer survivor. I have a doctorate. I finished high school.
Are these really who we are? Or are they simply part of our journey, a title or life experience that will demonstrate what we are made of? I, my friend, will passionately argue the latter.
I was a booking agent of musicians in my 20’s when I married my boss. No, it was not one of these torrid affair workplace things. He was single as was I. First I was his girlfriend, then I became his wife.
In the minds of many we worked with, that part of my life made me less of a booking agent. The fact that we were dating appeared to be an argument that my ability was not the sole reason I had my job. I must be a dumb blonde (no offense to blondes—we are a pretty smart bunch) who got the job, well, just because my boss thought I was cute. Fortunately for those who chose to trust their careers into my hands, I was rather good at what I did, and they got enough work to pay their rent.
There were moments I faced the reality that people had the wrong perception of me, and it really bothered me. It hurt, challenged my self-esteem, and just flat out made me angry. I felt as though I had to work even harder and be even better to be successful in the eyes of many. They judged me on just one part of who I was, girlfriend to the boss.
It was then my self-view began to evolve. Each of those, wife and booking agent, was a part of what defined me in the eyes of many. Through the years, I added concert promoter, mother, homeowner, video producer, chief financial officer, author, and even toilet repairman (because we couldn’t afford a plumber), to my many titles. But none of those were truly what defined me; they were just what I was doing at that moment in time. They were just where life circumstances or choices threw me.
I felt as though I had to work even harder and be even better to be successful in the eyes of many.
What defines me is this:
Do I give up when life gets difficult?
Do I ignore those who bring me down, those who would limit me?
Do I build people up, not tear them down?
Do I love well even toward the undeserving?
Do I offer others encouragement, hope, and confidence?
Do I allow every one of my life experiences to add wisdom and create understanding?
In each season of life, these choices have been mine to make. It was on me to show grit and grace. Sometimes I fared well, sometimes not. This is true of us all. Every one of us is created with incredible talents and abilities. We are here to fill a place that no one else can.
Not to just do a job or find a purpose, which is part of it, but to be the one individual who decides to define who we are in every situation. We are responsible for defining ourselves, not by our circumstances, but by our actions within our circumstances. And ultimately looking to the God who created us as an amazing, unique, and beautiful person; His definition offers us hope… Hope in this life, where he will mine all the undiscovered treasure within us, and hope in the life to come, when our definition will be complete. What defines you?
You’ll love this episode of our podcast What Makes a Woman Strong (Might Surprise You) – 016