Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Defines Me

The other night I was reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies a.k.a. The People of Ammon.

I reflected on their decision to make a covenant with God to bury their weapons of rebellion. Symbolically they buried their swords and in that covenant also promised never again to shed blood.

Before Ammon’s and the sons of Mosiah’s mission to the Lamanites, these people were defined by the Nephites as “blood-thirsty.” Did the Lamanites also define themselves as “blood-thirsty” and through conversion were they able to see their sin and change?

And when they did repent, change their name and bury their weapons of rebellions, were they able to define themselves differently? Were others?

Which brought me to this question: What Defines Me?

The make and model of my vehicle certainly doesn’t define who I am – although it is a tell-tale sign that I drive around more individuals than can fit in a Suburban. And it says A LOT about the number of children we have.

Speaking of children, they don’t define me, either. Refine me, perhaps, although that is an understatement when it comes to this life being my probation! But what my children do and who they are is not a definition of who I am. The times when I see goodness and righteousness seep out of them so purely, so easily, I realize those are God-given gifts. They were His, before they were mine. And the times when I see myself reflected in them, I realize why God has given me the responsibility to repent.

The tags on my clothes definitely don’t define who I am – for because if it is important to wear the stuff that’s hot . . . I’m not. I choose modesty over fashion and a thrift store purchase an overpriced, over-the-top, over-rated name brand.

The house and the neighborhood I choose to live doesn’t reflect a true definition of who I am. Furthermore, what I have to “show” in this house that I call home isn’t impressing anyone at all. It has taken me some time to figure out that it is not WHERE one lives that is important, but HOW one lives that really matters.

My husband does not define me anymore than my children do. But, in this course that we call marriage – eternal marriage - I am learning to yoke myself to him. Cleave to him. Follow him as He follows God. That still makes me, me. And that still makes him, him. But it defines us as one. Isn’t that interesting!

Still, there are many things that do define pieces of me: What music I prefer to listen, What I choose to do on the Sabbath, What books I choose to read, What movies I watch, What I do with my time . . .

What does define me, more than I can understand, is my divine heritage to my Heavenly Father. He is my Father and I am His daughter (Imperfect, stubborn, impatient me!)

Once, long ago, when I was old enough to want to know something but young enough not to know anything, I found out that between my paternal and maternal ancestry lines, I had absolutely ZERO connection to even one early Latter-day Saint who crossed the plains to Utah before 1940!!

It left me feeling very envious (okay, envious is an understatement) and disappointed in my forbears for NOT figuring it out sooner so we could be part of the “in” group (Can you believe me?).

Oh, HOW pathetically na├»ve was I!

Then, one Stake Conference Sunday, a sister spoke of the same feelings she had had - she being a convert to the Church and all. (Had I even considered that converts would feel the same way about their family history?)

So she told us to imagine our family tree, with my name being the first one on the first line. That was easy to imagine.

Then, she said to imagine a straight line being drawn to the right, this one with the name, Heavenly Father.

Quite suddenly, my heart was able to burst the ugly bands of disappointment and resentment. I was able to connect, in such a spiritual way, that my bond, my heritage, my connection to my Heavenly Father doesn’t span the generations. It is direct.

He is my Father. I am His daughter.

And I am brought back to the question as to what defines me. Maybe I should say WHO defines me. Because ultimately, if definition will make a difference, it is He that can define who I am and who I can be.

I’d rather not be defined in any other way.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post!!Really got me thinking about what defines me. Thanks Darla! I still think you are the best!!