“I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer.”
“I’m a doctor, not a coal miner.”
“I’m a doctor, not an engineer.”
“I’m a doctor, not a mechanic.”
I’m a “Star Trek” fan. And if you’re a fan, too, you’ll recognize these famous declarations from Dr. Leonard McCoy, the Enterprise’s chief medical officer from the original TV series.
Have you ever made statements like these to help others understand who you are? Maybe even to help yourself understand yourself better? I know I have.
“I’m a writer, not a ballet dancer.”
Of course, I wanted to be both. But my fingers and mind are much more nimble than my chubby legs. When my dance teacher asked me to stop taking lessons because I just wasn’t getting it, I got the message. And when my creative writing teachers gave me As on everything I wrote, I got that message, too.
“I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Conflict is not my middle name. Sometimes that’s good. And sometimes that causes much more internal stress than I’m built for. God is continuing to teach me which conflicts require negotiation and resolution, and which conflicts just need to roll off my back and into oblivion. But I know love always wins because of Jesus. He has already won the most important battle for me.
“I’m a giver, not a getter.”
One of my greatest joys in life is giving gifts to others. Something I’ve bought, made, saved, treasured. Connecting with the receiver in a meaningful way is my goal in giving. And gift wrapping is one of my favorite parts of any holiday!
“I’m a widow, not a wife in waiting.”
Okay, that was a hard one to accept. For many years after my husband Gene died, I thought my main focus was to keep looking around and waiting expectantly for the next husband God had prepared for me. About 7 years into that process, God showed me that my real focus was to be the best widow, the best person, the best parent, the best friend to widows, the best writer, the best Christ-follower I could possibly be. And if God has a husband for me, he will introduce us when the time is right.
What are some of your “I am, I am not” statements? Even if you’ve never thought about this before, you already have some definites you can state.
So what does all this have to do with grit? I’ve learned that the more I like, love, and accept who I really am, the more grit I have. Being comfortable with me gives me the tenacity to tackle just about anything that comes my way. Loving the person God created me to be instead of striving to be someone I’m not is definitely a grit-grower.
Our culture is constantly trying to shape us into the perfect person to fit its mold. From hair color to make-up to diets to clothes to cars to houses to trips to toothpaste, our culture claims to know what’s best for us and does its best to sell that to us. I’ll admit it. I spent a lot of years trying to mold myself into that person. And guess what? She doesn’t exist. That goal is unattainable.
Loving who I am and being loved for who I am are two of the greatest blessings in life. When difficulties and stresses and challenges and pain do come along, I’m ready for them. Because God has already prepared me to handle whatever the enemy wants to throw in my path.
“Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:11-15).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2016 by Laura Warfel