You Are What You…

We have heard it a gazillion times…

You are what you ______.  Then you get to fill in the blank with the word(s) that will complete the thought. “Eat” is a most common addition. Love, Invest, Experience, Spend Time Doing, Think About, Focus On… This list could be endless.

In fact, this got me to thinking about all the endless possibilities. The infinite that has no ending of options, but must start from somewhere, right? Start combining several something’s together and the list incrementally increases in a greater infinity of options. Eventually, you will get to the point of not being able to add any more to your list, because you are a finite being in this present world. You have only so much time and energy to invest in all the avenues of your life. You had better choose wisely!

Your focus becomes narrower as you progress through your life.

When I was young, I started the “habit” of collecting stuff. Coins (still doing), all the way through pocket knives, cigarette lighters, bottle caps, books, cameras, maps…. this list could be endless because I had/have an insatiable appetite for owning things in numbers, especially the things I enjoy thinking about or handling.

Anything became something to collect.

Likewise, over the years I have unloaded some of my collections. Interests change. I change. My world changes.

I used an example last night of those “Westward Ho!” folks of the 1800’s. From the east, they headed west. They filtered through their life’s collection of things and loaded only what they thought necessary and what would fit in their wagons. They divested at the beginning a life time of things they needed where they were at. As the way got tougher, and the longer, their wagon starts unloading those things no longer important than their very lives. Those collectibles are like the “weight” that hindered their forward progress. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We let what we own define us more than we by who we are. Who are your? On the inside. The way you think. Your personality. Your focus. Your beliefs. Your responses. Your systems. The way you relate to the world around you. Your interactions, friends and even your family tree. How do you make friends, maintain friendships, and focus on being there when they need you?

Do you realize everyone is different? While I should never judge anyone by who they are now, we all know that we are subject to change. That change can be huge. Positive, as well as negative. Since I do not know how far you’ve come, nor how far you have yet to go, I must either accept you for who you are now, or simply step away until a more fortuitous time.

Remember. It’s a two way street. When you intersect their life, you must be aware of their imperfections, along with your own. Sometimes we clash. Sometimes, it’s simply not meant to be.

Slowly, the things I’ve collected, the friends I cherish, and the past that seemed to be so important, have nothing to do with who I am today, nor who I will be tomorrow. What was once important, no longer is…

I’ve watched many folks enter their later years. Slowly, they divest themselves of the things they once thought they could never separate from. Their world narrows. It becomes a smaller footprint. What we own must be maintained and that takes time, finances, energy, and another infinite list of possibilities.

Is it worth it? Good question. Only you can answer what you are willing to define yourself by. As for me…

Several things are immutable.

First, I will never divest myself of my walk with God. It is personal. It is me. It will always be.

Second, “Until death us do part”, my time with my bride will be till one or both of us are gone. Even then, how do you undo a lifetime of commitment, memories and love to the most important person in your world? Likewise, my family is mine, along with all the warts, zits and ugly pieces and parts. I cannot undo them, nor would I want to.

Third, Friends come and go. We realize this. I have friends from youth, career, church, neighbors and all sorts of connections. Who we thought of as a friend is really only an acquaintance. Friends do not need definitions, they simply are. As time progresses, some acquaintances will fall by the wayside for various reasons and are often replaced by someone new. The one thing I know, friends of my past are still there in my memories, even if not there in physical presence.

Finally. “I want to be the best me that me knows how.” (In response to a boss who wanted me to be more like him.) I am a work in progress. You will not change me, nor influence me to step off my pathway. I have my own destiny to fulfill.

Now, in the famous words of Buzz Lightyear,