What defines you?
Think hard. Don’t give the Sunday school answer. As Christians, we all know that Jesus and our relationship with him should be where we find our identity. But do we really find it there? I used to think that as long as I could give the right answer it wasn’t a struggle for me. But it is. I struggle all the time with embracing who God says I am.
I live my life in a wheelchair and I have to plan around it and live with it all the time. That makes it very hard to feel like a whole person. I don’t want people to see the chair first so I feel uncomfortable doing things that draw attention to it. For example, I have been playing Boccia once a week for the past couple months. It’s the Paralympic version of bocce. Basically you play the game sitting down. There may be opportunities to compete in the future when my schedule permits. But I have a problem with doing that. It would be fun to play sports, but it’s very much centered around having a disability. Playing this isn’t enough for me. I want to be whole and healed and able to play anything I want. I know that that time is coming for me but until then I struggle with not being defined by my limitations.
I guess what it comes down to is that wholeness is a process. God has been making me whole ever since I accepted Jesus as my Savior. God’s got this under control and His plan is best. I believe He will heal me but until then I’m still me And whether I’m in the wheelchair or not I have to remember how God defines me or I won’t make it. Let me put it another way. It would be silly of me to define myself by being a student. I won’t be a student forever and so I can’t put my identity in going to school. If I do that one day I’ll graduate and I won’t know who I am. No matter what stage of life I’m in and no matter what physical abilities I have, I am created in the image of God. I am redeemed, set apart, loved. I am more than a conqueror. I am a new creation in Christ. So I can play Boccia and know that doing adapted things from the chair doesn’t mean I’m settling for less than God’s best. I am not defined by the chair. I am defined by God. The less I focus on my limitations, the more God can show me how limitless He is.
So let me ask you again, what defines you? Is it your job, marital status, children? Is it something someone said to you about who you are? Do you struggle with physical limitations too? Embrace your stage of life by all means, but don’t be defined by circumstances. They may change. Don’t let yourself be labelled by others hurtful words. Look in the Bible and see what God says about you. Repeat it as often as you need to. Your circumstances may change but God doesn’t. And his definition of you matters the most.
-Emily White, Youth Leader