What defines us? I am struggling at the moment with the realisation that my daughter is growing up.
My son too! But this week it was my daughter that made me look for the pause button on the life remote. At a recent family wedding, I took the bridal waltz as an opportunity to dance with my 10 year old. This is not anything new. I have often swept her up, holding onto her, with her head at my height and danced dramatically around the floor.
However this time, I could tell she was uncomfortable. I asked her what the matter was and she responded saying she felt awkward. After finishing the dance I returned her to the table. I later talked to her about it.
“It wasn’t you,” she told me, “I just didn’t know what everyone else was thinking!”
Her young reaction is often no different to the rest of the human-kind. We realise that we are measured by the views and perceptions of others. To make it worse, we often never get to hear what those views are. So for a ten year-old. She kind of has to guess. My advice to her: Do not be defined by what others think. Rather, look for opportunities to build into the lives of others.
Hopefully, as we get older, the fear of what others think is balanced by the self-confidence we build in ourselves through the lessons of the successes and failures of our past. We are not defined by others. Our success or failure does not define us - They teach us.
From a Christian perspective we are defined by God’s purpose for our lives which is to love one another (John 15:12). How does this define us? Building into the lives of others is different to pleasing others. Dance through life’s steps, learn from the stumbles, and don’t worry who might be watching from the side.