Hello my name is...
I am 26 years old. I have zero children. I am a single, Caucasian female living in Nashville, TN, originally from Michigan. I possess two degrees from Liberty University. I have an average build and I’m fairly athletic. Statistically, there’s nothing too unique about me. I’m a musician by trade. Brown hair, blue eyes.
My name is Whitney.
You could rattle off a few quick stats about yourself in this manner with relative ease, I’m sure. These are things that become increasingly valuable to society as we get older. What tax bracket are you in? What work do you do? How smart are you? Are you physically healthy? How many jobs have you had and how often are you promoted? Have you given to any charities recently? How many kids do you have, and are they smart too?
I tend to look at people through this lens. I rarely remember the names of people I meet, and it proves to me that I am forgetting to acknowledge what a name can mean; it is evidence that they are a human being created in the image of God, born with a wild purpose and innately deserving of love. You have read a paragraph of information about me, but you cannot know my mind by seeing I have a college degree. You cannot know my heart by learning where I’m from. You cannot know my beauty by recognizing my physical attributes.
We focus more on what categories we fall into, rather than who we truly are by design. The more we progress from our youth into adulthood, we shed our adventurous spirits and replace them with an inkling to responsibly fit into easily dissected categories. We forget that we have a name, and are content to be more of a social security number. There is a need for us as we grow to drown out the drone of impersonal and dreary data and stay true to the unbridled spirit that our Creator has given each of us.
Traveling for me helps me remember my name. Whether in its vast canopies of nature or cityscapes full of people, it reminds me of my humanity. I can look at mountains, unenhanced by Instagram filters and untouched by infrastructure and be reminded that the same hands that made those mountains made me. I can walk through crowds in New York City and notice people, not for their ethnicity, or physical makeup, but rather remember that they are all names, like me, carrying with them the image of God. Traveling, for me, wicks away at the thought that I was made to simply exist in a world of cultural norms.
Some people will ignore this idea, and think “well, I’m not much for adventure.” The things that God calls us to do not ever come easily, for saying yes to Him initially requires us forfeiting our every right to be in control. He always calls us further, deeper, higher, and wider. Wherever we are standing, we must move. Whomever we are currently, we must grow. We are all journeying, all the while either becoming less, or we are becoming more. The act of becoming more is the real heartbeat of adventure. Have you loved someone enough to commit yourself to them forever? You’re on an adventure. Have you watched your newborn baby navigate the new world around them? You’re on an adventure. Let us not succumb to making these moments less than they are! To society, your statistic has changed, but to God, you’ve taken another step in your journey. Have you ever done something you felt was nearly stupid because you knew it was right? Have you ever encouraged a random stranger? Have you given a little extra, or agreed to take a little less? Have you said ‘no’ for the first time to your addiction? Volunteered at a shelter? Gone out on a ledge for a friend? Stood up in the face of adversity for what you believe in? Have you stayed in one place when you would rather run away? These are adventures if we recognize them as such. The physical expeditions of exploring a new city or driving across the country are such wonders to behold because they are opportunities to recognize the adventure that lies right within our own souls!
My journey has been an unfolding of truth; that every moment can be an adventure.God has made us to take leaps of faith. He has made us to climb mountains. He has made us to pioneer a new wilderness. He has made us to remember that we belong to Him. We are human beings created in the image of God, born with a wild purpose and innately deserving of love. Spend some time reminding yourself in whatever way necessary that you are not just a figure. You are not just a digit. You are not just a probability. You are a brilliant adventure with every step.
My name is Whitney. What’s your name?
The Journey of Authenticity