So I have been thinking about this for the last few months or so, and I thought I would put my thoughts to keyboard. So I have been thinking about how people characterize themselves. It has always been a pet peeve of mine that people have to conform to what society tells them they need to conform to. For instance if you like to skate, then you have to wear skater clothes, and skater shoes, and you listen to a certain type of music, and have a certain "attitude." I don't think I have totally understood this. Why can't someone wear skater shoes, and listen to country if that is what you like. This leads to a more in depth analysis of the dangers of how you characterize yourself. I am constantly reminded of Elder Oaks' devotional my last semester up at BYUI. He told us this:
"Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God.
Yet there are those among us who choose to define themselves by some other characteristic. It may be the fact that they are “'a patriot,'” a Cardinal fan, a person from Texas, a redhead, a great basketball player, or an underachiever.
We have our agency, and we can choose any characteristic to define us. But we need to know that when we choose to define ourself or to present ourself by some characteristic that is temporary or trivial in eternal terms, we de-emphasize what is most important about us, and we overemphasize what is relatively unimportant. This can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our eternal progress."
I totally agree with this, and obviously it was something that caught my attention or I wouldn't have remembered it from 2 years ago. So being characterized as a redhead my entire life, does this give me permission to have a temper, and reinforce the attitude that "it's ok, because she is a redhead." No I believe that attitude is exactly what Elder Oaks is talking about when he says that it can hinder our eternal progress. I think that we need to make sure that we aren't characterizing ourselves in a way that limits us or forces us to fall into a certain category of conformity. We just need to be us. I am Katy, a daughter of God who wants to be an amazing wife and mother someday who happens to have red hair.