Over the past few weeks, my life has changed. Not radically changed like something terrible has happened but changed inside. Changes that I did not expect that caused me to reevaluate how I approach life. Typically there were always too many responsibilities to be concerned about. My life has been that way for a long time. Family, career, writing, traveling or home responsibilities were endless. Busyness was the norm for me. Then I stopped not by choice but rather out of physical need. This is when I began to recognize what had defined me!

I wonder if too many of us are defined by life circumstances or our own busyness instead of who we truly are. Let me explain. What is the first question we ask people? What do you do for a living? Have you thought about what this question is really asking? People seem to want to know what we have been striving to become instead of accepting who we are. Don’t get me wrong I take pride in what I have accomplished educationally and enjoy what I do. But is this who we are really?

I also have realized that many people think they know me but actually do not. They may know me for my accomplishments but not my heart, what I am really passionate about. Often our passions are reflected in what we do but it never reveals everything about us.

The truth is our passions were determined by God. He placed them within us. From our passions we discover our purpose and ultimately our destiny. This is where we also discover who we really are. We are not defined by what we do for a job but rather by our characteristic qualities. These qualities such as honesty, integrity, compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and love.

One thing I have noticed is that aggressive behavior that overrides these qualities have taken on a louder voice – a voice that drowns out good character. In fact, there seems to be such a dividing line with those on one side who have no voice and scared to speak to those on the other side that speak so aggressively that common sense becomes lost. The right to be loud, ignorant, rude, or demanding overrides all other considerations or opinions. So we become defined by these – no voice or an overbearing, bullying voice.

As I ponder all these things, I realized people categorize and define us in many ways – what type of clothes we wear, our past choices, whether we attend church or not, even what church we attend, our family name, our opinions and the list goes on. None of these define us – they just send judgment toward us.

Praise God, we get to have a say about what defines us. With a renewed heart, we don’t have to settle with the past, what other people think, or what we have chosen as a career path. We have a choice about whether judgment clings to us or falls off. A renewed heart allow us to stand strong against that which tries to tear us down. We determine our destiny by aligning with what God says about us and the benefits are amazing – a strong voice, quality characteristics, loving spirit, sound mind, and powerful influence. When we take on the truth of what Christ has done for us, what we receive when we accept him as savior, and then begin applying these truths, negative factors begin falling away. Truth prevails and contentment grows. Our focus shifts from what we cannot do to that which we can accomplish. Good character arises again and a sensible voice returns.

I believe it is time for us to take back our identities instead of allowing the voices around us to determined our quality of life. Stand up to any highjacking and use your voice productively. Strengthen yourself in the Lord because he created you with a purpose and destiny in mind. Don’t settle for anything less.