You’re Not A Doberman

Dauchshaund on stiltsI laugh every time I see this photo from Codeblack Comedy shared on Facebook. But there’s an important point that shouldn’t be lost in the humor: the little dachshund is still just a dachshund. He can pretend to be a doberman all he wants, but he’s a dachshund. On stilts. And likely no longer able to walk, at least until his owner sets him free from that gismo he’s attached to.

I think this picture speaks volumes to our discontented society with so many people trying to be who they are not. Pretend all you want, but cross dressing doesn’t turn a man into a woman. A boy who says he feels like inside he’s a girl is still a boy.

And even with surgery and drugs, there remain things that are physically true about those born with a Y-chromosome that are just being discovered. Like certain drugs used for heart disease that work only for men and not women. Will those drugs recognize the inner woman in those dachshunds on stilts?

Or how about the discoveries at the genetic level? Just last year, Nature published the findings of a study of the genes on the Y-chromosome. Here’s part of the New York Times article covering the study:

“Throughout human bodies, the cells of males and females are biochemically different,” Dr. Page said. The genome may be controlled slightly differently because of this variation in the 12 regulatory genes, which he thinks could contribute to the differing incidence of many diseases in men and women.

Differences between male and female tissues are often attributed to the powerful influence of sex hormones. But now that the 12 regulatory genes are known to be active throughout the body, there is clearly an intrinsic difference in male and female cells even before the sex hormones are brought into play.

“We are only beginning to understand the full extent of the differences in molecular biology of males and females,” Andrew Clark, a geneticist at Cornell University, wrote in a commentary in Nature on the two reports.

But this “you can be whatever you want” claim is much more far reaching than gender identity. Little boys and girls are told they can be the next great___; fill in the blank.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching beyond our circumstances to make more of our lives, but there is something wrong with reaching beyond our personhood, with the talents and abilities and skills with which we’ve been born.

I’ve used myself as an example before: when I was in college, I discovered volleyball. I also discovered that I wasn’t too bad at the game, and I started dreaming of playing in the Olympics. A teammate of mine had the same dream and in fact transferred to a university where she might have a better opportunity. The problem was, neither of us was taller than five feet six inches. Neither of us had a forty-inch vertical leap. Our chances of making the Olympics were slim and none.

I don’t know what happened to my former teammate. She didn’t have a scholarship to play volleyball. Did she walk on at the university where she transferred? Was her bold move positive for her despite the fact that it didn’t lead to a spot on the Olympic team? I have no way of knowing. I can say, changing schools would have a radical effect on her life. And at some point she had to learn the truth: despite strapping on stilts, she wasn’t a doberman.

Of late there have been a rash of “stars” who are famous for being famous. They have no special talent. They aren’t particularly rich, haven’t achieved anything meaningful—other than getting themselves known by millions of people who find their lives an entertaining soap opera. Some might argue that they have in fact become what they dreamed of becoming simply by putting their minds to it. Well, maybe.

I suppose if you set your sights low enough (“I want to be famous, at least for fifteen minutes”) anyone can achieve their goal.

I remember when we used to get tested in PE for a variety of skills. We even did a high jump. To begin with, the bar was set so low that we all were able to clear it (hardly needing to employ the jumping part of the skill). So yes, there are some things anyone can achieve if they put their mind to it.

The sad thing is, though, that a number of young people have resorted to things like cheating in order to achieve their dreams. Others notoriously con, manipulate, pay for, and trade sex for what they want. All in the name of becoming the doberman they’ve always dreamed of becoming.

Where in this mix does contentment lie?

When is it time to cease striving and know that God is God (Psalm 56:12)?

I suspect the answer is simple: we will stop trying to pretend we are dobermans when we realize dachshunds are made precisely the way God wanted them made, and there’s nothing wrong with short legs and a weenie-dog body. They won’t do what dobermans do, but dobermans can’t make people laugh the way dachshunds can either.

As soon as we embrace who God made us to be, we’ll turn all our striving, not into trying to be something else, but into being the best us we can be. That’s not anything like, Be whatever you want to be. That’s, Be who God intended you to be.

Published in: on April 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm  Comments (5)  
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Committing to a Writing Project

On Tuesday I came clean about my version of writer’s block—too afraid to write. I started yesterday by tackling some of the jobs that have been hanging over me and cluttering my brain. As I eased out from under the load, I felt less paralyzed, but honestly, I considered backing out of going to the conference. Except, I’ve already paid.

OK, so I’m going. I prayed. I know others did too. And a friend of mine reminded me about writing during my optimum thinking time. For me, that’s morning—usually my blogging time.

Today I switched that and worked on one of the projects I’d hoped to take with me to the conference. Except, I still don’t know. I sent off some pages to another writer for some feedback with the idea that if it’s no good, maybe I’ll can the idea.

Then I read a part of Randy Ingermanson’s blog post about goals. He said there are two necessary things if you want to complete a project: define it and commit to it.

The “commit” part seemed applicable to my circumstances. Here’s the pertinent passage:

Second, you commit to writing that particular book. Commitment means that you won’t quit when things get hard (they will). You won’t quit when your critique buddies find flaws (they will). You won’t quit when the agents say they’re not interested in that particular book (they will). You won’t quit when the editors say no (they will). You won’t quit when the substantive editorial letter comes back with 20 pages of requested revisions (it will). Commitment means that you’re in all the way. Commitment means that you work on the book until one of two things happen — either you realize that the book is fatally flawed, or you finish the book.

My question is, How do you know when a book is “fatally flawed”? If I can’t finish, have I quit or have I recognized it is fatally flawed? And who’s to say it is fatally flawed? Not agents or crit buddies or editors, it would seem.

And if it’s up to me, how will I know? I can’t judge by it being too hard or because I’m not getting the responses I hoped. So what should be my the measure I use to judge “fatally flawed”?

Unless … Maybe there should be only one thing—I’m all in until I finish. Not, until I finish or …

Something to think about.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm  Comments (8)  
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