The conversation around our outdoor table continued late into the evening, well past the time someone had quietly cleared the dinner dishes. As I watched the lightning bugs blinking in the trees surrounding our patio, I remembered long-ago summers when my dinner companions were smaller versions of the lovely young women they’ve become. As I listened to my daughters and their friends talking about their dreams for their grown-up lives, I marveled again at the privilege of being part of their journey and uttered a silent prayer of gratitude.
Around our table that night, we entertained two actors, a writer, and a singer/songwriter—a passionate group of young artists ready to make an impact on the world with their unique offerings. Part of our conversation focused on the way the world sees their chosen vocations and the mindset necessary to weather the inevitable questions.
“I am an actor,” my daughter declared. “I’m not ‘trying to be an actor.’ Whether or not acting is the primary way I earn a living, I am an actor right now.”
I am inspired by their commitment to building a life that makes space for the power of creativity and appreciates and legitimizes each stage of their unfolding journey. While they each hope to someday earn a living with their art, they know that might not happen immediately. Their definition of success is not tied to any one destination, but experienced by showing up authentically in the process, regardless of how the world judges their choices.
Despite their youth, these young artists seem to understand the power of naming. Writers are people who write. Actors are people who act. Songwriters are people who write songs. Artists are people who create art, regardless of how they earn an income or pay their bills.
Words are powerful. What we say about ourselves and how we say it often reflects our most deeply held beliefs about our purpose and our worth. Unlike my brave young friends, many of us worry that we haven’t done enough to “earn” the right to call ourselves a particular name, so we water down our dream with qualifiers.
I’m an aspiring writer. Someday I hope to be a “real” writer.
I play around with painting, but I’m not a painter.
I like to sing, but I’m not good enough to sing in front of other people. I’m not a performer.
I sometimes end up in charge, but I wouldn’t call myself a leader.
Or my favorite, I’m “just” a mom.
We don’t need to arrive at some arbitrary milestone to claim our identity. Even though we’re not always loveable, God names us Beloved. Even though we continue to make mistakes, God calls us Forgiven. Even though we are works in progress, God sees us as Perfect. Stepping out of our comfort zone into the unknown of our dreams and calling requires a willingness to own who we are becoming. Right now, starting today.
I am a writer.
I am a speaker.
I am a life coach.
I am a professional.
I am a leader.
I am Beloved.
Who are you? Who are you becoming? Read the rest of this post on The Glorious Table
Once a month, I have the privilege of joining some amazingly profound writing sisters over on The Glorious Table. We write our posts two months in advance and, as this month’s contribution posts at TGT, I am on a cross country trip with my daughter moving her to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actor. The photo above was taken at the Grand Canyon where we stopped along the way. Join us over at The Glorious Table! We won’t be complete without you.