What Defines You?

Who Are You? What Defines You?

Decades ago I could hold a toddler on my hip while I dragged wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, kept an eye on dinner, and supervised a son’s homework. Multi-tasking comprised daily life.

Now, I’m smug if I make it out the door with my purse and don’t forget the grocery list. Of course, I’ve probably forgotten grocery bags or coupons which took an hour to compile, but at least I’ll know what to put in the cart.

When you notice you can’t do as many chores at once or even do some chores one-at-a time as you did when younger, it’s easy to become frustrated with yourself and feel less useful. I don’t know about you, but when I do not produce, I feel like a slug. I fight an imp pulling on my ear and telling me I’m worthless.

When a rheumatoid arthritis flare gripped me for three years, it backed into a corner. I couldn’t do the simplest chores but was forced to admit limitations, forced to depend on others, and forced to slow down.

I had to ask my husband and kids to help me with basic tasks like dressing and lifting dishes off of shelves. After my health improved, I learned to say ‘no’ to easy and worthy service opportunities like Vacation Bible School, because I knew adding too many activities would provoke another flare.

One stormy day I called a friend to cancel a play date for our sons, because my wrists and feet were too painful to drive. I used the rain as an excuse. My pride is as big as Texas, so needing people, asking for help, and admitting my weakness to others not just humbled me, but humiliated me. I listened to that imp on my shoulder and felt worthless.

As I sat on the couch, unable to get up, unable to hold a book or pen or accomplish anything, a different  voice spoke in my ear.

I love you. You don’t have to complete a list of achievements to have value.

Rusted into place on the couch, do you know your worth ? I would give my life for you.

I did give my life for you. That’s how much you’re worth.

Deep breath.

I still stink at this idea that my worth is not tied to usefulness. My heavenly bridegroom must remind me over and over, through loved ones and scripture, that I am valuable as-is.

I was inwardly hanging my head when the youth director, Samuel, walked on stage and took the microphone for youth announcements. My kids are grown, so I wasn’t paying attention. Samuel astonished me when he launched into a mini-sermon.

You are not defined by what you’ve done. Let the cross define you.

I am not defined by what I’ve done.

I am not defined by what I’ve done.

I am not defined by high school or college years, extracurricular activities, grades, decades of marriage, mothering three sons, teaching, or a librarian title. I’m not defined by accomplishments, those fading, dull things forgotten by others and just as flimsy in my mind too.

I am not defined by sharp words I’ve spoken, neglect left in my wake, regrets of words unsaid, and questions unasked.

“Let the cross define you.”

Let the cross define me.

The cross defines me as worthwhile, valuable, and significant, because God let His life ebb away for me. Yes, He died for the sins of the world, but He also died for me, singular, me.

The front cover of church’s morning’s bulletin read, “Who Am I?”

I am Suzanne D Marshall, a person worth God’s notice, worth of His very life. He made a nobody into somebody.

We are all important.

Who are you? How do you define yourself?

5 thoughts on “What Defines You?”

  1. Powerful truth, Suzy! Truth I need to speak to myself sometimes hourly – thanks for this hour’s reminder! I remember the days/years of screaming “Doesn’t anyone love me for who I am and not for what I can do for them?” Thankfully that beautiful small still voice of the One person whose love I should cherish the most – said “I do”. Yet I confess my unbelief must be confronted on a steady, daily basis for the pressures to perform, to evaluate and to seek affirmation are deadly idols. It can be so subtle that it can even poison genuine acts of love to others or myself. Freely we have been loved, freely we are to love. Thanks to the power of God and His Truth – we choose today to not listen that the lie!

      1. Just thinking out loud – Do you wonder if God is asking – doesn’t anyone love Me for who I am and not what I can do for them? Forgive us Lord!

      2. In answer to your question – if probably has a lot to do with how conditionally we love one another. No matter how well parents might parents, it still can be interpreted as conditional.

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