I am not who I say I am.
I am in fact what I do. That's who I am. I'm not talking about my occupation. I’m talking about me and my actions.
This was the lesson I was taught early on in life. I heard (ad nauseam) a story of a duck and an eagle. The story goes that there is this duck that parades around claiming he is an eagle. He says he talks like an eagle, looks like an eagle, hunts like an eagle and even flies like an eagle. The moral of the story is that the duck's actions mattered more than his words.
Stick with me here.
I was taught that what I say regarding who I am matters very little unless I have action to back that up. It matters very much what I do to show you who I am. It is by action that reliability and trust is earned with others.
So, why the picture of Lee Ann and I?
Lee Ann gets to see on a daily basis if my actions match my words. It is easy to say the words, "I love you." However, love is a choice. If my actions consistently communicate that I am NOT choosing love, how can she trust those words when I say them? She knows how I treat her when we disagree and get into arguments, regardless of what I say about how I think I treat her. My actions tell the truth and give me away every time. She knows by my actions how I treat her in the good times AND bad times. She knows what my actions are when I act prideful versus when I am humble.
The hope is that my actions only ratify what my words are.
The hope is that my actions give my words weight and a foundation.
The hope is my actions put a spine or backbone to my words.
I can look at a friend and say "trust me", but have I modeled a friendship that inspires trust? Have I been trustworthy in my actions?
I can say, "I'm listening", but have my actions shown that I really listen? WHAT HAVE MY ACTIONS SAID?
Here is what may be the most important point of all. When my actions don't line up with what I say, what do I do? Do I attempt to defend it? Or, do I take responsibility, ask for forgiveness, and then live out that forgiveness by earning back the right or trust of someone that I love?
Those are two very different reactions.
It is easy to say I'm sorry, it is a whole different matter to live I'm sorry.
There is no doubt in my life I am probably more guilty of the first than I am of the latter. My hope is that through the course of my life, my actions say that the second is what is important to me. That way when I say "I'm an eagle", my actions back up that up. And eagles are really freaking BA.