I've always been a worrier. One of those people who has to plan, analyze, and dwell on almost everything. If it's a disease, it must be hereditary... My mother is the same way. Except not completely, because her worry yields productivity almost 100% of the time. She's a superhero, that woman, always worrying more for the sake of others than for herself.
But my latest worry has been very personal, an everlasting uncertainty of who I am and why I'm here. Surely, I'm not the only one with a little nagging voice inside my head. Everyday, it asks the same question: Are you really the person you want to be? (Cue Switchfoot.)
A few months ago, during a car-ride home from Louisiana, I spoke openly with my dad about this inner struggle of mine. I told him that I sometimes feel as if I'm not living up to the woman that God created me to be, as if I'm just not good enough. I won't go into the specifics of why I felt this way, because it really isn't all that important. The point of this story lies in what my father had to say.
We all have the desire to be extraordinary. To be the holiest person or the best looking or the most intelligent; perhaps a combination of all three. But for a lot of us, that's just not realistic. Some spend their entire lives searching for the one thing that they're amazing at and passionate about, only to realize too late that it doesn't exist. At least, not in the way that they imagined it. But that's alright, because it's not our talents and gifts that make us who we are. We are defined by something else entirely, and to that I say thank God.
We are defined by love, and not just any love. His love is what gives our lives purpose and meaning. The rest is icing on the cake: good, until there's no more cake. (I can't believe I'm comparing God's love to dessert. But you get the gist, right?) Don't get me wrong... Our accomplishments and contributions are so very important in making the world go round. Hard work helps us appreciate all that we have, and our daily strivings are the key to character-building. But at the end of the day, our lives matter because He loves us. End of story.
After thinking about my dad's response for a few minutes, I turned to him again, not altogether satisfied. "But what if I can't help wanting to be more for God? How can I make Him proud if I don't even know what I'm good at?" My father looked at me, and I saw the wheels turning in his head, as if he'd once asked himself the same question. Just as I was about to give up on receiving a response and enter back into my own thoughts, he said something that stuck with me.
"I think you just have to strive to be the best possible version of yourself in all that you do. But more than anything, if you want to be extraordinary, learn to love extraordinarily. In His eyes, that's what counts."
Sometimes, the answer we're seeking is as simple as that.