23 July 2010

Character & Reputation

Have you ever had someone attempt to make you look like someone you're not?

Recently this has happened to me. I have been called names, been accused of doing things I haven't done, and basically been drug through the mud.

And it hasn't really bothered me at all.
This is a big change for me.

In years past, I would have been severely wounded by words that were so obviously meant to hurt me. But as I thought more and more about it, I realized I have nothing to prove.

And I found a lot of peace in that.

When I took some time to reflect on why it didn't bother me like it has in the past, I realized it's rooted in a phrase I once heard:

If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.

I realized it doesn't bother me because my character speaks for itself, aside from what anyone says.

Good or bad.

If someone sings my praises at work but my clients are not cared for, the truth will come out eventually when clients don't have the things they need.
And if someone accuses me of things that are completely outside of what people expect, my character speaks for itself. I have spent a lifetime building a character that is honest, pure, trustworthy, and genuine, then the untruth will not resonate.

Sure, some will believe it.
Those in search of a story to tell.
Because what's more scandalous than someone acting completely out of character? That's grounds for lots of conversation!

But my reputation will stand on its own.

I've known this for a long time. It hasn't changed anything for me. So why am I suddenly concerned about it?

Because I'm about to be a step-mom. I'm about to be intricately involved in the spiritual formation of a little girl I've loved since I moved to Paducah.

I want her to be this kind of woman when she grows up. I want her to live a life so full of integrity that when people say hurtful things of her, her character will speak for itself. When her reputation is damaged, I want her character to step up and fill the void.

And even more than that, I want her to find the same kind of peace I have found. I want her to have the confidence that she has done only good things and no one can change that. No matter what they say.

I also want to teach her to be a woman who looks at character before she speaks. I want her to be slow with her tongue and generous with her judgments. I want her to look at the people around her and see them for who they are, rather than for who the story may say they are.

Because that is part of her character, too. I want her to be known as a woman as intentional as her daddy is. I want her to find the confidence I have found. I want her to keep her gentle, accepting spirit that pervades her interactions with her peers right now.

I am both honored and scared to death to take on this daughter.
She means the world to me.
I couldn't love her more if she shared my DNA.
I can only pray that her dad and I will continue to be this intentional as she grows.


Erin McPhee said...

All I can do is smile ... and cry a little too, but I'm pregnant so I figure that's allowed :)

Ferris Family said...

perfect, again, you have perfect words.