Written October 31, 2013
I find it incredibly difficult to be succinct intentionally, but tonight I'm going to give it a whirl.
I've called myself a lot of things over the years, growing up. I've dubbed myself a photographer, a horse trainer, a riding instructor, a designer, more recently a barista; I've seen myself a world traveler, a lover of people, an intern, a leader, the list goes on and on, so it shocked me when my public speaking professor asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up" and I could not come up with an answer. The guy next to me chimed in, in place of my silence, "An actress!" obviously remembering what I had declared standing in front of my peers only weeks earlier. I flinched at his words. How wholly untrue, or was it? It was the strangest feeling, as if everything slowed down as my mind worked frantically to articulate a response that accurately answered his question. What do I want to be when I grow up? I didn't have an answer, and I spent the rest of the day thinking about it, and wondering if I was overcomplicating it. Wondering if anyone else struggled with this question. In the end I concluded that his question was not actually what he wanted to know, incontext. His question should have been, "What profession do you aspire to?" - but that wasn't the question he asked and I was left reeling.
What do I want to be when I grow up. I don't want to be an actress. I want to act, though. I don't want to be a Horse Trainer, I want to train horses, though. I don't want to be a Photographer, I want to take photos, though.
And then I realized. It was a question of Identity! And in that same moment I realized maybe his question was what he was asking. Maybe the truth is that without a relationship with Jesus people spend their lives seeking and placing their identity in titles, in jobs and in others in hopes of making sense of who they are.
I'm not I do.