Summarizing Ourselves

Who am I? What is important to me? What have I been up to recently (in terms of years), and what are my dreams?

Check out this photo from the early 1970’s of Pete (second from left) with his five siblings. Next month, for the first time ever, all six of them are all planning to get together, with their spouses, for a three-day family reunion. In addition, they’ve invited their dad (who will turn 90 later this year) and step-mom to join them. This is a Major Big Deal. One sister will be coming from Germany with her husband and one of their four kids. A brother and his wife are flying in from the east coast, and another brother-and-wife are coming from the west coast. Everyone is meeting here in Colorado.

(I have to admit, I’m finding this all pretty overwhelming. I like Pete’s family—all his siblings are pretty incredible—but all at the same time? It’s a bit much for this only child.)

In any case, since this gang of siblings doesn’t get together very often—being scattered all over the globe—and since we’ve never had all the spouses present at the few occasions where all six brothers and sisters were together, we’ve been trying to come up with ways to get to know one another better in the short time we’ll have. Hence the questions I listed above.

Each family unit has been asked to make a simple presentation that summarizes who we are in about 20 minutes. Who are we as adults, mostly married, with kids ranging from teens to thirties, and in some cases, grandchildren? What is most important to us? What are our accomplishments, goals, dreams? How has God’s love impacted our lives?

These are not the sorts of questions we ask ourselves every day, but they’re very good questions to contemplate once in a while. In the rush of life, how often do we stop and take time to evaluate our lives?

This Saturday is Pete and my regularly scheduled monthly date. We plan to spend the day working out what we’ll say to his family next month. Who are we, individually and as a couple? What are we passionate about? What gifts and skills is God growing in us? How do we expect God to use us in the future?

I’m really looking forward to doing this. Hopefully, looking at the big picture will provide a sense of direction that’s been rather fuzzy lately. We’ve been so focused on asking God to show us the next step—it would be nice to have some idea of where those steps are leading. And while there is no way we can be sure about the future, it’s perfectly fine to have something to aim at. We just need to make sure we hold those goals loosely, subject to God’s authority.

Of course, having an overall understanding of our destination doesn’t mean we can just head off on our own. We need to walk with God, not run ahead of Him. Even if we know where we’re going, we still must rely on God to get us there! (See 2 John 1:9: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” [italics mine])

So, how about you? Do you have a sense of purpose about your life? Do you have personal goals—or do you tend to take life as it comes? If you do have goals, have they arisen out of your gifts, talents and interests—who God made you to be? Or have they come to you through divine revelation? How would you summarize yourself in 20 minutes?

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One thought on “Summarizing Ourselves

  1. I hope this will be a great time for you both. I just finished a trip where we looked at some family history, the old homestead and gravesites of ancestors back to at least 3 generations. It was special to think of the legacy left and where it has taken the family. I got to meet distant cousins and hear some shared stories of our ancestors. Some times it’s good to look to the past to see where we’ve been and how far we’ve come in order to be able to look to the future and have a better understanding of where we’re going. I’m not ready to summarize myself yet, but am slowly getting there.

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