March 14, 2013

Not Having a Thing


For about two years, I have really struggled with not having “a thing.”

You know what “a thing” is. You hear about a 5K and say, “Whew! I could never do that, but Kate could. Running is her thing.” The topic of art comes up, and you think of someone you know who's a genius with oil paints, and you say, “Painting is Christina’s thing.” Or maybe you know someone who’s all about dressing well, and when those seasonal catalogs come in the mail you think, “Jessica would love to see this. Fashion is her thing.” 


I don’t think I’ve had "a thing" for a few years now There’s not really one interest or skill that people identify me with. 

In high school, music was my thing. I played piano, flute, violin, and whatever else I could get my hands on. I took classes and private lessons. I studied music hard on my own. I taught music lessons. I signed up for college as a music major. Then I attended a Summer Music Academy where I realized that discipline can only take you so far in music; at some point, there’s got to be talent. Oops. I started college with a different major and could no longer devote significant time to music at all.

In college, leading children was my thing. Everyone knew me as the girl who loved working with kids. I started a children’s choir, worked in daycares and schools, babysat a lot, had a job as a nanny, taught children’s classes at my church and other churches, majored in Elementary Education, and volunteered for absolutely every opportunity available to work with children. I loved it. But somewhere along the way, those opportunities slipped away. I got a different job, got married, moved to another town, went to a new church. I didn’t get to interact with children much. Nobody had any clue that I was passionate about teaching kids.

And now here I am. I’m still zealous about investing in the next generation, but now I do that in ways that aren’t as visible to others. I still love music, but I gladly relinquish that to be my husband’s “thing” rather than mine. (He has the talent, after all.) By profession I’m an academic coach, a title people don’t quite understand even when I explain it. I dabble in painting. I garden a bit. I adore good literature and a quiet house. But I can’t think of any one pursuit that I would consider “my thing.” 

I’m learning to be okay with that.

I’m slowly coming to peace with the truth that I don’t have to distinguish myself with "a thing.” I don’t have to spring to people’s minds whenever they think of music or children or art. I’m not a nobody just because I’m not outstanding at one role in the public eye.

What matters is that whatever I do, I do for the glory of God. 

I don’t have to be known as the girl who worships God through working with kids or through music or through art or through writing. I’d rather just be a girl who worships Jesus with all my heart. Period.

My identity is in Him, and His glory is "my thing."