IDENTITY: My “One Word 365” Spring Check-In

My “One Word 365” for 2013 is identity, and it’s time to check in for the spring. Though it’s technically not even spring yet, recent events beckon this post.

My one word for the year makes perfect sense given my upcoming little-holds-barred book. Also, the Indian name I received at camp last summer has taken over my blog, my life. My identity.

Traveling Golden Trout.

Since camp ended in August, I’ve been wearing this blue bracelet etched with my new name. It’s been as essential and standard to my daily wardrobe as socks, underwear, and the watch I’ve worn since my 18th birthday.

But then a few days ago, something happened. Something tragic.

I took off my bracelet for the night — and the bracelet snapped.

Right down the middle of my name.

Identity: Traveling Golden Trout snapped bracelet

I stared down at the limp strap of rubber in my palm and basically cried inside.

For seven long months, something that was so constant, so faithful, so indicative of my identity had suddenly failed me. Snapped without warning.

The next day — the first day in over half a year — my right wrist felt naked. Stripped. Bracelet-less and bare.


Yes, as a writer with an affinity for metaphor, I couldn’t help pondering my split bracelet the next couple days. Wondering what it “meant.”

Am I no longer Traveling Golden Trout? No longer meant to travel but called instead to stay in a single space, a single place?

Should I forget Korea?

Forget a return trip to camp in North Carolina?

Should I just stay put? Or am I meant to persist? To continue on my wandering way despite snapped bracelets, overwhelming relationships, attacks on my identity, and other struggles aplenty?

Or can I still hold true to this Traveling Golden Trout identity while seemingly paradoxically staying put?

When examining Scripture, you won’t find a man as attached to something so identity-driven as Samson and his hair. Dude was a stud, but in a moment of weakness he lost his hair, lost his strength, and his entire identity was shattered.

Split down the middle like a snapped rubbery bracelet.

And yet Samson persevered. Called out to the God He’d forsaken and — well, went out with a bang. Had his strength, his identity completely restored before his life was taken in the process.

After uploading my book’s video trailer last week, I felt affirmed. My lofty goals distinctly more materialized, my elaborate visions finally turning solid.

It was a bizarre feeling. Is.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled to be this close to publishing after years of striving. Yet on the other hand, I’m terrified. Terrified I won’t measure up to expectations. Won’t be nearly as “good” as I think and hope I am. That my identity as a writer, an author — a Christian — will be shattered.

And yet if I don’t follow through — if I don’t self-publish — I’m not holding true to my identity. Would be letting fear take the reins instead.

I refuse to let that happen. Let fear win.

Truthfully, I still have no idea what my summer and fall holds, but I know what’s happening this spring. Know precisely where my identity is winding despite the dread bubbling in my gut.

I will publish my first book this spring.

And I will strive onward. Split bracelet and all.

Question: How is your “One Word 365” shaping up after two months?

  • My One Word 365 is “epiphany”, and it’s been interesting to see how God has been revealed in new ways so far this year.

    • TMZ

      Still totally LOVE your one word. So bold and chill-inducing. Greatly looking forward to the blogs that (hopefully!) come from your word.

  • Rebecka

    I honestly don’t know how to answer your question. My word is Hope, and I’m trying to cling to it, but some days it’s very difficult. I feel inspired by you though, and I’m going to join you in saying “I refuse to let fear win!”

    • TMZ

      Keep refusing! I’m reminded of a lyric from that amazing Prince of Egypt “When You Believe” song. It goes: “Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill…”

      Awesome stuff! Will be lifting up your HOPE, Rebecka.

  • Zachary Gladwin

    What a good post!

    I too would see the hidden meaning in this seemingly random occurrence. I do believe that it is symbolic of a breaking off of your past season of wandering. This does not mean that you wont travel or move anymore. It simply could imply that from now on, you will go already with purpose. You will go on mission, no longer in search of the mission. I would be encouraged by it.

    As far as my word for the year, it is “Revelation”. I think this is year is a year of divine revelation. Revelation of self, of God, of purpose and of my identity as well. This season God is downloading His revelations unto my spirit and giving me greater insight into his Kingdom plans. I would say that that word is still true for this year. It is hard to receive without much action though. But that is the next season!


    • TMZ

      Praise God for this comment. I love your assessment of my “situation,” Zachary. It’s perfect. I concur wholeheartedly.

      Prayers for REVELATION in abundance! So grateful for your friendship.

  • Just so you’ll know, this:

    “On the one hand, I’m thrilled to be this close to publishing after years of striving. Yet on the other hand, I’m terrified. Terrified I won’t measure up to expectations. Won’t be nearly as “good” as I think and hope I am. That my identity as a writer, an author — a Christian — will be shattered.”

    … is normal. We felt this way too after signing the contract to write My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word.

    But also, just so you’ll know … nothing, no thing can shatter your identity in Christ. Blessings on your writing.

    • TMZ

      Thanks for the reminder/affirmation! Amazing how a single word can completely transform my outlook on life. If only for a year at a time.

      Blessings to you as well!

  • Glad you’re holding true to your identity, Tom. Rock it.

    • TMZ

      Thanks Stephen! ROCKIN.

  • Excellent! Not every blogger can write a compelling post about a rubber bracelet snapping. I have no doubt your bracelet-less existence will be no less meaningful than your bracelet-ful one.

    • TMZ

      Glad you enjoyed, Adam! It’s been tough, but I’m moving on with my bracelet-less existence. Still striving for meaning…

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