11 In Adventure/ In The Loop/ Inspiration/ Lifestyle/ Summer

Who Are You?

Defining Who You Are Beyond the Usual

As we sat around Jamie’s (gorgeous) kitchen island and plotted the exciting next phases for The Lifestyle Loop, our first task was to answer that very question. With a lot of excitement and a little bit of nerves, Jamie, Sam, Rosa, Brittany and I, introduced ourselves and shared a snapshot of who we are.

I have to confess, for a time in my life, situations and questions like that used to terrify me. Not that I’m unsure of myself, or that I can’t rattle off bullet points that some would say define the answer, but I was always left wondering… is that it?

Sure, it’s easy to start with, “Hi, I’m <insert name here>….” But, but then your relationship status shifts and the name you’ve said your whole life changes and you stumble over the words and the feeling your lips make when you say your new name. Even months or years in you randomly respond with your former name and shake your head.

Then you follow up with, “… and I’m a <insert job title, chosen career, employer, passionate hobby, parenting role, etc.>” But of course, that role changes too. Sometimes frequently, sometimes years in between, and sometimes one replacing the other.

So if the very first pieces of my go to intro are subject to change, IS that who I am? Is it who I am right now? This moment? This phase of life? Is that what people really want to know when they ask that question? My gut reaction, “No way, I am SO much more than that.”

 Let me tell you a little secret, friends. So are YOU.

A few years ago, I met one of my dearest friends, Jessica, for a happy hour that I will never forget. You know those friends who you can be your realest, rawest self with and they love you regardless? Jessica is one of those. The thing that brought us together, singing in a wedding band (don’t laugh, we KILLED IT), had come to an end for both of us and we were navigating our friendship without automatically seeing each other every weekend. We hadn’t been together in a while and had both been in uprooting seasons of change and struggle, so we had loads to catch up on.

Friendship

A few of my favorite moments with sweet Jessica!

Happy hour turned into happy FOUR hours. We shared our junk, we laughed, we cried, we prayed, we encouraged each other, we held each other and I’m pretty sure everyone else at Pomodoro East that night thought we were nutty. (They have a great happy hour, BTW). We discovered that we were both in a place where our foundations of “who are you” were being shaken or shattered. So we explored that question a little differently.

We talked through the core of our personalities and through the unique pieces of our lives that stand out. We talked through the way we impact people around us and what people might remember when they interact with us. But mostly, we talked about new names. In scripture, time and time again, those who God uses are taken through immense trials, but emerge better, more faithful and closer to Him. And what else? With a NEW NAME.

This had been on Jessica’s heart for while and she shared what that meant for her. Her new name rang confidently from her lips: Victorious.

Wow. Roll that around in your mind for a moment and think about THAT answer to, “who are you?” I couldn’t wait to land on mine, but knew it was something I couldn’t randomly choose for myself. So I prayed, and I waited, and I prayed …. And I waited.

And then it hit me like a ton of exciting bricks: Champion of Joy.

I immediately exploded in laughter thinking about ACTUALLY calling myself that. Like, no way that grand and moderately silly title was meant for me. What does that even mean?! But I kept hearing it, seeing it and I knew that, indeed it was.

And do you know what? It’s changed EVERYTHING. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Champion of Joy is who I am, and I try to live it every moment. It’s a role I can carry with me through any relationship, if I stay in my current career path or not, if I become a mother or not, into any conversation, interaction and moment, I can choose to exude joy and try to bring it to those around me. It’s my unique purpose in life and I plan to own that until my final day.

Some days I get it right. Other days I fail, over and over again. But I know that doesn’t change it. It doesn’t change, even in moments I struggle to find joy or when it comes more easily. Champion of Joy is who I am and who I will always be, and days when I struggle the most, that simple truth brings light.

Shorty after that happy hour, Jessica surprised me with this gift. A custom made Giving Key boldly displaying one word: Joy. She wears her own: Victory. And when I get that question, “Who are you?” I glance down, smile and proudly reply, “Champion of Joy.”

Joy, Giving Key

I don’t share this story to brag or gloat, I share this because I want the same freedom for you. Friends, I encourage you to take a fresh look at “who you are.” I challenge you to spend some time in reflection/prayer/meditation/fellowship and consider your name. Once you have it, or if you’ve already known it, I would love for you to share it with me. I want to get to know you and all the amazingness you have to offer.

And if you don’t already have a friend like Victorious, I pray you are blessed with one soon.

In joy & victory,

{If you aren’t familiar with the Giving Keys and the wonderful work they do, check out their story here.}

 

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Ye Chen
    July 23, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Very inspiring story and an empowering way to redefine who we are. Thanks for sharing. If I have to pick a new name right now, it would be “Change.” I think that’s a nice way to sum up life.

    • Reply
      Ashlee Graham Meier
      July 23, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      I LOVE that, Change! So glad you enjoyed the read and thank you for sharing your new name. I hope it brings light to your days! XO, Ash

  • Reply
    Whitney Kutch
    July 23, 2018 at 9:29 am

    “Champion of joy”. Oh, I love it! What a cool thing to be and use as a definition for yourself 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashlee Graham Meier
      July 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      It really did take a me a hot minute to not not giggle excessively when I said it, but now I feel it in my bones and just know it’s me. Thank you for stopping by, Whitney! XO, Ash

  • Reply
    Ashley
    July 23, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Amazing story! The kind of friends that you can let your hair down with are the best!

    • Reply
      Ashlee Graham Meier
      July 23, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Right?! I am so lucky to have some amazing friends in my life… and what makes being a part of The Lifestyle Loop so fun! Also, I’m really and Ashley/e too, so I think your real name is already cool. 🙂 XO, Ash

  • Reply
    Sara Uzer
    July 23, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Nice article! Surrounding yourself with the right people is key.

    • Reply
      Ashlee Graham Meier
      July 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      It totally is! I do not take for granted the wonderful friends and family that have been put in my life. Sounds like you have them too! Squeeze them tight. <3 XO, Ash

  • Reply
    Theresa Bailey
    July 24, 2018 at 6:58 am

    It’s so important to have those friendships that don’t judge and can help you navigate who you are in this world. I’m glad you found your person to share that with! 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashlee Graham Meier
      July 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Me too, Theresa! It makes such a difference and definitely inspires me to be that kind of friend to other in my life. Thanks for stopping by! XO, Ash

  • Reply
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