I went to Schoolfeed and laughed when I saw the category. The nomination was for "Most Outgoing". I wouldn't even vote for myself for that category, based on who I was in high school.
But, as I said, the person who nominated me didn't know me then. This person only knows me now. It made me think not only about how much we change throughout our lives but also how we know people who only know us from certain stages of life. I am sure my nominator would be surprised to find out that I was not outgoing back then. I remember myself as someone who was quiet, who didn't like to speak up, and certainly wasn't outgoing. Alternatively, people who knew me then might be surprised to find out that today I enjoy public speaking (although, I still hate small talk in any situation).
I wonder too, in what ways do I remember people being a certain way, even though today they may be very different? If I have realized that I have changed, doesn't it stand to reason that other people have changed too?
A literary agent named Tamela Hancock Murray started following me on Twitter the other day. I followed her back, and one of her tweets said "If you want everyone to forget your past mistakes, you must concentrate on forgetting theirs. On to the future!"
When I think of people I have wrapped neatly up in a box as to who they were then, I think I probably am not forgetting their past mistakes (especially if it was something that directly affected me). In some ways, with some people, I know I have moved on from doing that; in other ways, probably not so much. But I wouldn't want anyone to only think of me as the person I used to be, so why do I do it to them?
How often do we dwell in the past? How often do we dwell on who we were, what we should have or could have done instead of looking ahead to the future and embracing all that it will bring? How often do we struggle with who we were or who we think people expect us to be instead of being who we are created to be? More often than we should, I'd wager.
The good news is that we don't have to fit into those narrow expectations. We can be free to explore all we are meant to be and all we are meant to do.
Who do you want to be?
Some encouraging words for you:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! --2 Corinthians 5:17
Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. --Philippians 3:13-14
Our life-purpose therefore comes from two sources at once--who we are created to be and who we are called to be. Not only is this call of our Creator the source of the deepest self-discoveries and growth in life, it gives our lives an inspiration and a dynamism that transforms them into an enterprise beyond any comparison. --Os Guinness in The Call, page ix