The state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or condition. The condition or character of who or what a person or thing is.
For the last year and a half now, I've spent my days terrified by this definition.
You see, as I've said already, you can't go through any life-altering thing without being completely changed--whether that means your life was taken from you, entirely, or you were lucky enough to be given a change at more life that is entirely DIFFERENT. I will always have physical scars on my body to daily remind me of my intense battle. I will always be on drugs that daily remind me every time I swallow them that I once, intimately, looked death in the face. I will likely always be fatigued a little easier than before and have more brain-lapses then ever. These are just all part of the 'mark' a survivor wears. Yet, this weekend, during a much-needed extended weekend away with my family, God awakened me to the fact that I have allowed these things to make me flee the very concept of who I am. I said once (or maybe more) that I feel like I'm me living in someone else's body and life. It really does leave you feeling that way, and that feeling really is beyond your control. My response to that has been to 'go through the motions' and shove what was 'under a rug.' Looking at pictures of our amazing family Disney trip just days before my diagnosis in 2012 hurts to much. Undressing to shower--I HATE mirrors and purposely avoid looking at myself without clothes on. Being so INsecure in who I am and who this battle has left me as is so foreign that I don't even want to address it. It's like I continue thinking that if I just look like I have it all together and re-busy my life with lots of distraction, it'll all work out and somehow, I'll 'adjust' to this new normal that I despise so much.
It was this weekend when God said ENOUGH for my sake and hers, too, that I realized where I've been for this past year and a half. You see, meeting a mama with kiddos the same age as mine, whose cancer was caught 'far too late' and has been given a more terminal diagnosis is humbling. Always. It's not that I haven't already had that happen both amidst and after my own battle, cause believe me, I have. People seem to FLOCK to you when they know you've been there and they or someone they love is facing or about to face a similar battle. Ironically, however, it was me trying to comfort her in saying, ALOUD, for the first time in months, that we are 'blessed' to of had our eyes opened like they are. Opened to the reality of life's fleeting moments and how every one of them is worth praising our Lord for and making the most of. I think the Lord knew I needed to hear MYSELF say it to really believe it, again...and realize how hard I've been working to IGNORE it all these months.
In meditating on how shaken I felt by that interaction--both praying for her and even my OWN heart-set and what a U-turn I'd unknowingly made--God gave me a word.
We spend SO much of our lives working hard to define who we are.
Where we live, what career path we choose, what car we drive, who we marry, how many kids we have, what we do with our days and what we believe...and we look at all of these things as choices that WE make for our lives that help define who we are. But I think for those of us who KNOW our ALL-loving, ALL-planning, ALL-living and ALL-gracious God, we miss the mark in thinking this way.
This world wants us to define ourselves by these things. The evil-ruler of this world wants us to put our self-worth into things so that we get completely lost in stuff and blinded from what really matters.
Although this concept will never be easy amidst the spiritual struggle of this life, alone...it is so imperative that we let our identity ABIDE in the only place it belongs.
Who I was before, what I am now, what I have now or will have tomorrow ...ALL of these things are not of me. They are not MY 'choices.' They are God's ALLOWANCES and Grace working in my life. And all I can do is pray God's Grace on my path and my life, that He only allows what is best for me to do with this short life and time He has given me in this world and that it is ALWAYS PREPARING ME for a life ETERNAL, with Him.
I don't know about you, but His is the most Awesome identity I could ever think to be worthy of claiming. And the coolest part? Amidst ALL circumstances, THAT identity NEVER changes.