I'm well-aware that I'm part of a generation of self-definers. We like to categorize ourselves. Me, for example? I'm an ESFJ and my love languages are quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation. I've mentioned all of that here on the blog, previously, because it's interesting, but also because I like to categorize myself. I was listening to a favorite podcast recently and they discussed our generation's cultural need to be defined. (If you want to, you can listen to the episode here—it's so good). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it merits mention and awareness. We like parameters and we like have labels to include in our comprehensive identity definition.
Simultaneously, I've been thinking about my life, and where I find enjoyment. On days when I'm hard on myself, I consider a lot of things about me to be, well, boring. For example, these are things that I love that the world probably doesn't define as thrilling, per se:
- coffee > cocktails
- staying in
- wearing slippers
- borrowing all of Nicholas' sweatshirts (they're just more comfy)
- a tidy home
- handmade quilts
- making meals and dessert from scratch in my kitchen. (I would almost always rather cook at home than go out to eat).
- visiting the library
- reading Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living (my two favorite magazines since age 12)
- buying for quality and not buying things we don't need
- being good stewards of our finances
- crafting at home
- our freshly made bed + flannel pillowcases for winter
- walks outside
- waking up early, before the sun
- a well-written recipe
- simple decorations for the seasons
- fun snail mail
It isn't wrong to categorize myself, but when considering my identity, I need to give proper weight to the parts that really matter. (and honestly, not put all my focus on myself). If I personally enjoy my life, but I have this nagging feeling that maybe it's boring? then I'm placing too much emphasis on other people's thoughts about my life. When we visited Minnesota, this part of the sermon at church resonated with me:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
This takes all the focus off of me and puts it back on Jesus—where my focus should have been all along. And when it comes to the dreaded term: boring, following Jesus promises to be anything but boring. I need to continually reevaluate just what a joy and an adventure it is to follow Christ. I won't let the world's definitions of boring, fun, worthwhile, or a waste of energy cheapen my reality of following Christ. So, for myself, I need to set things straight: Yes, I am a child of God. Yes, Jesus is the ruler of heart and my motivations. And yes, part of that means being okay with the fact that the world's exciting is different than my exciting. But who cares? I shouldn't. This is the life I've been given, and to that, let me say amen.
Any pursuit of learning about ourselves should point us to Christ. Even my homebody propensity runs deeper than merely the pursuit of a comfortable environment. In the words of John Piper:
Do you feel restless for home? [We] are destined in the depths of our being for an ultimate Homecoming. All other homecomings are foretastes. And foretastes are good. Unless they become substitutes. O, don't let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final great, all-satisfying Sweetness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts a-homing after heaven. [...] Make your Now the richer and deeper this Christmas by drinking at the fountain of Forever. It is so near.
So, let us revisit the defining parts of us that truly matter: the redemption, the loss, and the joy that is all the more sweet for knowing Christ.