Upon a Skype chat with some old friends, one of them struck the great philosophical question: “If you could define your personality with a food, what would it be?”
Deep, I know. But stay with me here, because that question is harder to answer than you might think. Of course, several people started to list off creative and fun foods. Perhaps not their favorite foods, but still holding some resemblance to their personal character. As I sat back and laughed along with those good old friends, I suddenly had a thought.
“Guys, can I just be a glass of water?”
There was silence for a moment, but I quickly asked the all important question: “Why would you want to be a glass of water? That’s so… plain.” Besides the fact that a glass of water isn’t a food at all, it was a pretty boring pick. My argument, however, was that the mere fact that I had suggested something so mundane only proved the accuracy of my choice… even though I wasn’t quite sure why. A glass of water is simple, practical, but often overlooked by the more sweet things in life. It seemed to be me, to a certain point, of course.
Now, you can argue about all of the strange things you can do to a glass of water (such as those strange bags of artificial flavoring you can taint it with), but my personality seemed to be exclusive to nothing but a few ice cubes. So, not only was a self identifying label born, but an inside joke as well. Now whenever a friend sees me do something simple, practical, or responsible, I would hear a lighthearted “There’s that glass of water again.” Even if I wasn’t proud of it, I wouldn’t be able to escape it. I just had to accept it, because no matter how hard I could try, I would always be chilling in that tall glass on the counter, whether I liked it or not.
I wasn’t always proud of it, though.
Flashback before this wise, food related question had happened at all. All the way back to freshman year of college. A new experience was waiting for me, practically right at my fingertips. First week of transition was rough for most people, but not for me. I was having the time of my life, because I was determined to become an extrovert. I probably wasn’t doing quite as well as I thought I was, but you have to give a man credit for trying. I talked with peers, sat in the front of classes, and marched around like I owned the place. This was fun for about an hour. I quickly realized that I wasn’t very good at the whole ‘living-on-the-edge-and-really-social’ thing. I kept being the one to go to bed on time, telling people to stay out of trouble, trying to keep people on task and making them focus. I was a glass of water down to my core. But I fought it. I was a little too stubborn for my own good, and so something unexpected happened.
I kind of socially broke.
I was so tired of trying to be something I wasn’t, that by the end of my first semester of college I could barely still talk to half my friends. This included some of the oldest and most dear people that I had even grown up with. I was trying to chisel myself into being a person people would want to be around, but instead I just hammered the nail straight into my very soul. What I got instead of a newly emerging extrovert was a bleeding introvert with a hole in his heart, and very little to show for it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot. I got to know a lot of different people, and I’ve been able to salvage a lot of the friendships that I had made. I still sit in the front row of class, and my confidence has risen, at least a little bit. But even after all this time I can still feel that drilled-in hole. A strange kind of scar, resting on my very being. A pain that continues to stand for my reckless rejection of self. I ignored a lot of pain to try and achieve something that was not for me to achieve, but it only saved it up for later.
Here’s the point. No matter how old you get (at least to my experience so far) you are always finding out something new about yourself. However, when you find something genuine, don’t you dare throw it away. If you can identify with a glass of water, even if it will never technically be a food, hold onto it. Every little shard you find of yourself should be cherished. If you fight it, you will only find yourself bleeding and on the ground. Emotionally speaking, in my case. People may not always understand you for who you are, but your creator had a very specific design in mind. If you fight him, he’ll have to break you down to save his prized work. It’ll hurt, but it only shows a fierce purpose for who you’re actually meant to become.
You be that glass of water (or whatever obscure food/not-really-a-food you may be)! Just remember that you’re that way for a reason. The last thing God is going to do is to throw his plans away for your petty, selfish goals. And while you’re at it, try and be understanding of those who already accept who they are. You would be surprised how much that alone can help.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”