When I was young, I thought that everyone belonged in a box. Quiet people, loud people, kind people, funny people. I’m aware as I type this how ridiculous it sounds, as though each person can be categorised by one thing. As though we aren’t complex beings of more than one emotion, aspiration, experience.
It scared me when I couldn’t pinpoint myself to just one category. I could be quiet, but I could also be loud – oh no! I thought that becoming an adult would mean choosing just one category and sticking to it.
This is a weird thing to admit, especially as I haven’t thought about this in years. But I’ve been reminded of young-Sarah’s thoughts in the past few days as I’ve been thinking about who I am and the different facets that I am made of. I don’t have just one interest or gift or trait. Sure, there are many I don’t have, but I am not restricted to living robotically the rest of my life, eyes on one thing only.
I’d say I’m more quiet than loud, but I like to chat and laugh at thunderous volumes. I’d say I’m more a writer than a teacher, but maybe one of these days I’ll study in education and change priorities. I’d say I’m more a baker than a cook (my family would say I’m neither) but I like chicken too much to always be afraid of giving myself salmonella.
There are so many aspects to all of us, that to put us in a box would be missing the mark.
You know, lately I’ve been wondering if there’s something more I should be doing. Am I adult enough, in a way. Should I be studying something, getting another job, moving out, saving orphans in Africa. It can get overwhelming thinking about all that I’m not doing.
And I am not doing many, many things.
I can’t speak another language (or, I can say ‘I love football’ in German and not much else), I haven’t finished reading Wuthering Heights (and it might never happen), I’m not always good at telling people how I feel, and I want to be fit but cardio is such. A. Pain. (Even the word cardio makes me grimace.)
It’s easy to look at my future self and decide what I want her to look like, but in reality she’s me and I ain’t gonna magically change overnight. Maybe tomorrow I could poke some raw chicken or sign up for a degree in education…
… or I could go to the same job I’ve had for six months and do some writing in my spare time. No matter what I do tomorrow; no matter if I take steps in a new direction or stay on the current path, I’m still me.
And this me has to trust that God will let me know if He wants me doing something else. Trust that I will hear and obey when He does.
When I think about who I am and who I want to be, the main answer is to grow more like Jesus. To reflect God’s glory in all the great things I could be doing one day. Like helping orphans in Africa (which isn’t really on my radar, for the record).
But I have to remind myself to be grateful for who I am today. Who I am today, an adult of three and a half years who feels like she’s not quite doing enough. (Cardio, that is.)
We can look to the future and see a big pile of glory in ten years, when we’ve figured things out a little more; like when I’m an author or a school teacher or a baked chicken expert. But I have a bit of God’s glory to share today. Today, in the job that doesn’t feel like the rest of my life. Today, as I write another sentence. Today, doing ten crunches and telling myself cardio isn’t important.
Looking ahead is in our nature. Aspiring for more is normal. Becoming more Christ-like is in the five year plan. But don’t forget about the person you are today, because that person is you and you are accepted by God. Regardless of where you want to be in ten years, regardless of the big plans you’ve made.
Thank goodness for that.
When I turned 18, the idea of what my life would look like is not my current reality. If I had to choose what box I belonged in, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. But just because being an adult isn’t what I thought it would be doesn’t mean it’s bad. Aside from the whole prodding raw, cold chicken thing, it’s pretty dang good.