But here's what I'd like to share: Do you know that you get to decide who you'd like to be? Cause you do.
I think the first time I ever made a conscious decision about who I wanted to be was when I decided I wanted to be a good big sister. That was sometime while I was in middle school. My neighbor had the best big sister ever, and I knew I wanted to be like her to my younger siblings. (You'll have to ask my brother and sister how I'm doing on this... it's gotten harder to always be there since having babies, but I'm still trying!)
When I first went into marriage I knew I wanted a good marriage, but it took me a little while to accept the fact that in order to have a good marriage I was going to have to change. I went into my marriage with Shaun hanging onto every little piece of who I used to be, and getting all offended and mad if he even hinted at asking me to do anything differently than I was used to doing it. I'm really not sure why... I think maybe I "didn't want to lose myself"... I thought I wouldn't be happy and wouldn't know who I was anymore if I compromised on anything. (I'm talking about the way I washed dishes, whether I took my contacts out in the bathroom or next to my bed, how I left lights on... really stupid minor things like that... things that I should have been willing to compromise on) But the truth was I could only really be happy if I changed, if I allowed myself to grow into us instead of just staying me.
I enjoy my marriage so much more when I allow space for there to be TWO of us. When I stop fighting for myself and start fighting for us, when I am ok with compromise and change for the purpose of growth.
The season I am currently in is one I am so thankful for. I have purposed in my heart that I would really like to become the person Jesus intended for me to be. I would really like to bloom to the fullest and with the most brilliance possible. I want to become as much like Christ as I can. That means constant change. Constant evaluation. Constant willingness to lay down another part of who I was, being willing to be broken and re-crafted. I know that my life is in His hands, and He is a master creator. Instead of fighting Him when I am feeling nudged toward change, I want to embrace it.
Here is a huge thing I have learned:
The surest way to never grow as a person is this: Whenever a problem/situation/difficulty arises in life or in relationship, begin looking for all the reasons you are right and they are wrong. Begin building your defenses. Begin fortifying yourself and reinforcing the mind set that you did nothing wrong, things are the way they are, there's nothing more you can do, and that where/who you are is where/who you want to stay forever.
The surest way to grow into the person you were made to be is this: Whenever a problem/situation/difficulty arises in life or in relationship, being asking yourself self-reflecting questions. Ask yourself what your true motivations are. Ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, you could have done things differently. Ask yourself if part of the problem lies with you. Ask yourself if you might have been wrong. Ask yourself what changes you can make to help prevent similar problems in the future.
If you can have the mindset of continual growth, suddenly every situation in life is a new opportunity for gaining wisdom, a new chance at learning, and there is purpose and beauty in every season. Nothing in life is a waste, there is something to be gained from it all. Even the most heart breaking of circumstances can be redeemed. The Holy Spirit is my convictor, but you know what?? It's not just to make me feel bad, guilty, tell me I'm not good enough... It's to grab my attention and propel me into making changes that make me a better person. It's for my good.
Defining who you'd like to be is such a cool thing... once you know your core values then you can ask yourself questions to find out if you are staying on course to being refined into that person. For example, I'd really like to be someone who is inspiring, someone who speaks the truth in love, someone who is genuine. I want to be loving to my family, I want to reflect the character of Christ. I want my home to be a place of connection and peace and beauty. I want to do things because I enjoy them, and not because I feel like I have to keep up with so and so.
You can also define who you don't want to be. For example, I don't want to be a show-off. I don't want act like I have it all together and end up making people feel discouraged. I don't want to be a self-promoter.
If you haven't already, take some time to figure out who you want to be, what you want to be known for, and then at every opportunity ask yourself questions about why you do or act the way you do. It will take you on an incredible journey.