I was talking with a friend a while back about the difficult economic times we are experiencing, and he made an interesting comment that I have pondered for several days. He said, “These times will define us.” I expressed my desire to make it through this financially stressful time with my integrity in tact. I have optimism about the future, but also harbor an inner fear that I may not be able to meet my financial obligations.
How will these times define me? Hopefully I will be defined as a man true to his word and willing to do all within his power to provide for his family and honor the commitments he has made to others. My grandparents went through the Great Depression. They were refined through the process. Now it is my turn.
Yet a more general thought keeps coming to my mind….what will I allow to define me? Will I allow my trials to define me, or how I deal with my trials to define me? Will I allow my same gender attractions to define me, or how I deal with them? Will I allow my cravings for alcohol to define me? Will I allow my financial fears to define me? Will I allow my spiritual doubts to define me?
I do not want, nor will I allow my circumstances or trials to define me. I will be defined by my reactions to these circumstances and trials. I will not be defined as a “gay struggler,” “alcoholic,” ”financial failure,” or “man of little faith.” I will be defined as a son of God, who with the help of Christ, overcame the trials of life. I will be defined as a husband and father, who with integrity, provided for his family and dealt honestly with his fellowmen. I will be defined as a hard worker, a compassionate father, a loving husband, a trusting and trustworthy friend. I will be defined as a man who earnestly sought to increase his faith and to be a follower of Christ.
With such bold declarations, I acknowledge my human inadequacies, my dependence on a higher power to achieve these ideals. By myself, I am weak, but with the Lord by my side, I can be made strong. I can overcome the weaknesses of my flesh. I can endure and overcome financial difficulties. I can learn what Father sent me here to learn. I can one day make it back to Him and hear the confirming and ultimate definition of my soul in His welcome….”Well done, thou good and faithful son.”