Note to regular readers: I realize, looking back through all my chapter-a-day posts, that there were chapters I missed along the way. This is part of a series of "fill-in" posts I plan to publish in subsequent days and weeks. We’re still working through the book of Acts M-F. Consider this a little extra thought for your day.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Ephesians 1:11 (TM)
Earlier this week, a casual conversation at a business luncheon turned to the subject of children. One of my colleagues and his wife are expecting their second child. He mentioned that the pregnancy and impending birth was a bit anti-climactic after they have "been through it" with the first-born. The comment brought all sorts of thoughts and emotions bubbling up within me.
I am the youngest of four children, and I can remember feeling "left out" as the baby of the family. I was always the last to get to do certain things. Grandma’s photo album was filled with pictures of my older siblings in their infancy and early childhood, but by the time I came around their was less interest (and money) in taking pictures of "the baby." If the second kid is "anti-climactic" then the fourth kid must be about as exciting as doing the laundry. This really bothered me for a long time. I can remember a period of life where I really struggled with what it meant to be the baby of the family and I even felt victimized by it.
Then, I got real and grew out of it.
I am not defined by my birth order, and being the baby of the family had as many advantages as disadvantages. Being the baby of the family is part of my life story, and it gives context to who I am, but it does not define me.
I find it interesting what we allow to define us. I run into people all the time who get trapped into the victimization of self-definition:
"I’m a drop out."
"I had an abortion."
"I’m the child of divorce."
"I was rejected."
An event does not define me. A moment in time can’t contain me. They are merely jagged pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle. You see the piece and you get fixed on the image, but it’s one small part of the whole. The pieces are still coming together. The picture has not yet been completed. God is still putting the pieces into their place day-by-day.
I want God to define me. I want to be defined by the whole of my life, not by one or two jagged and confusing pieces. I will still look at each piece of my life puzzle and struggle to understand how it fits into the context of the whole picture God is piecing together, but I choose not to allow myself to look at one small piece of my life and say, "This is who I am."