When I don’t know what a word means or how to use it day to day, I do what most people do. I google it. In a matter of seconds, the definition of the word appears and I choose if I want to use it in my vocabulary or not. If I don’t like the particular definition, it would be very difficult for me to change it. I can only imagine the time and effort it would take to alter the meaning of a word. I would go as far as to say it would be impossible in certain situations. Once something is defined, it usually remains the same. People know how to use the word, they are comfortable with it, and are able to choose if they want it to be a part of their vocabulary or not.
If a simple word depends on its definition to get its message across, how much more do us as human beings rely on definitions. In other words, how do we define ourselves? I’ve been thinking about how someone would define me. You can do the same exercise. If there was a dictionary of all the people in your life, and you looked up your name, what would it say? I understand that people define themselves differently, but I’ve also come to a realization that it can be very difficult to alter that definition once you set it. Some people define themselves in Christ, others are defined by their occupation, and some by their vocation. Some are seen as workaholics while others seen as missionaries. You are defined as the life of the party or the homebody. We usually get stuck saying what we are, not who we are. I am a sales rep. I am Catherine’s twin sister. We define ourselves by how we look. We define ourselves by how we think other people would like to see us. If we feel as though people aren’t “using us in their vocabulary” we try to redefine ourselves. We want to fit in.
We need to decide what method of self-description works best for us. Who I am as an individual is determined by the values I embrace, not what I do. The amazing part about this is that we can determine the definition of our lives. We have that control. The tough part is that once we set that definition, it is difficult to change. It’s possible, of course, but once someone knows “your meaning” they have already decided where you fit in their lives. Just like we know based on a word’s definition if we want it in our vocabulary. So this week, let’s fine tune our definitions.
If you looked up your name in a dictionary, what would it say?