Who Were You Born to Be?

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My sweet little girl loves to dance. She never walks anywhere. She gets from Point A to Point B by way of a twirl, a skip, or a pirouette. She’s always creating new dance routines that she can’t wait to perform for us. Last week our school had Back to School Night. To begin the evening, we attended chapel together. All of the students stood on stage and led us in several songs. After chapel, we visited each little Snoodle’s classroom and then gathered together for an ice cream social. The next morning, we were eating breakfast together and the Princess said, “Last night was the best ever. I got to sing on stage and eat ice cream.”  Her needs are simple. She loves to perform and she loves chocolate.

I usually refer to her here as Princess Diva, but I’m afraid that title lends itself to a negative connotation where none is intended. She isn’t conceited or demanding. She is a little girl who loves her God, her life, and others, and has a healthy love of herself. She’s comfortable being the person God made her to be. I want to be just like her when I grow up. I pray that I will not pass down to her my own insecurities and struggles with liking the me God made.

Last Wednesday the Princess spent the afternoon with her best friend Ruby Jane. Ruby Jane is the one on the right in the picture. The Princess was pirouetting through the living room and Ruby Jane’s mom said, “You are such a graceful dancer.” Without missing a spin, my sweet girl said, “Yes. Did you know I was born to be a ballerina?”

We told that story to friends and family several times over the weekend so her comment has been always close to the front of my thoughts. Then yesterday, while I was trying to make a dent in the 700-plus blog posts that accumulated in my Google Reader last week, I read this post by one of my new favorite writers, Sarah Markley.  She actually wrote the post on the same day my girl had declared the purpose of her birth. The post isn’t long, so go read it now and when you get back we can discuss. I’ll wait here.

What did you think?  I know! Me, too! That last question has been setting up camp in my brain ever since I read it.

“Do you feel like you have to DO to BE?”

Yeah. I do. It’s a huge struggle for me. I’ll take it a step further. Not only do I have to DO in order to BE, I have to do it perfectly or it doesn’t count. That’s why my CoffeeGal Kellie’s post about her own struggle with perfection struck a nerve with me. I mentioned that post last week but if you haven’t read it yet, you really should. (Welcome to my blog. I don’t write new stuff here, but I do send you off to read really great stuff that other people have written!)

I believe this may be why I’m almost forty years old and I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve tried being who I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I’ve learned that you can’t live dreams that never belonged to you. I also learned that I’m not a very good judge of exactly what everyone wants me to be and that it’s impossible to be all things to all people.

This is not a new struggle for me. I’ve talked about my disquiet in this area on this blog before. This blog’s very name was born out of my quest and heart-felt to know and to be who God created me to be.

Which brings me back to my big white board. Maybe being who God made me to be is a byproduct of my acceptance of God’s love for me coupled with my learning to love Him in return. Maybe what I have to DO in order to BE is as simple as being loved and loving back.

Look at this:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10. I added the italics for emphasis.)

According to my handy Bible commentary, the word “workmanship”  means “work of art” or “masterpiece.” We are His masterpieces. We are His “Water Lilies”….

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or  His “Starry Night” …..

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or His Sistine Chapel….

sistineChapel

….but even more glorious and more beautiful.

And the works that He has prepared for us that we should be walking? Those aren’t works we do for Him. They are works He performs in and through us when we get out of the way and let Him be God in our lives. I don’t want to oversimplify this, but again, I think if we could really let the knowledge of His love permeate every molecule of our being, we could not help but love Him more and our lives would be open vessels that He could use to pour out His love on this world. When we aren’t completely open to His love, it not only can’t fill us, but we stop the overflow that is meant to run from us to the places He has put us to live. Living out my faith means living out the love I have been extravagantly given from my Creator and the way I learn to love Him more is by getting to know Him more.

Am I missing something? Have I oversimplified this? Do you think this is the way to stop DOING in order to start BEING? Do any of you struggle with the DOING or do you really know who you? I’d really like to hear from you today.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Who Were You Born to Be?

  1. I love this post, Whimz. This is a huge struggle of mine. And I think I’ve spent most of my life dealing with issues of authenticity and fulfilling my purpose in Christ. And I still can’t figure it out.
    It comforts me to know that there are others who walk this crazy road with me.

    I want to be like Princess Diva when I grow up, too.

  2. I struggle with this every day. I’m going to print this out so that I can read it again and think on it some more.
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Okay, I have to think about this some more before I can really comment, but I love this line:
    “I’ve learned that you can’t live dreams that never belonged to you.” I’ll be back!

  4. I loved this…
    thanks, I needed to read it.

  5. I understand exactly where you are at. All I can say that at 56 I do not struggle with most of that anymore. Aging has something to do with that I guess. I had dreams I accomplished, I had dreams that I finally realized were not my dreams but influences from others. I am now comfortable with myself. You want to be all things to all people when you are younger and believe me it just makes it harder. Be true to yourself and let God lead you. Concentrate on what is really important to you and not necessarily to others. Does this make any sense? Age does help!

  6. Oh my friend. This is so beautiful and just the Truth I needed to hear today. For realz girl. Thanks for letting yourself by used by Him! 🙂

  7. So much of my life has been spent trying to emulate others in search of being the perfect me. Thank you for boiling this down for me – emulating JESUS is really the only thing this is going to help me be the perfect me and there is not a thing I can do other that meet with Him and get to know Him and accept His unfailing lavish love for ME.

  8. Marie

    I just wrote out three different responses…and promptly deleted them all! So needless to say, your post has me thinking!

    I have been there. I still am there. For heavens sake, I just turned 39 and the first thing I thought of at 12:02AM of my birthday was “what do I have to show for 39 years on this earth”?!

    I have been thinking that it boils down to the truth that God loves me and desires a living and vibrant relationship with me. So whether or not my heart and emotions and hands can keep up with the truth that is in my brain, I can rest in His grace, mercy, wisdom, forgiveness and sweet direction whenever I call out to Him. He is God and His character doesn’t change! The focus is on Him!

    Following Christ is an adventure and a challenge, requiring active faith. It is a journey.

    Sometimes I am “being”. Sometimes I am “doing”. Sometimes I have peace. Often I am seeking next steps and/or answers. But all the time my perfect God is at work all around me, regardless of whether I realize it or not, regardless of what I do or don’t do. His character does not change! My focus has to be on Him!

  9. Okay…going to send you to iTunes to find a song by Nichole Nordeman called “Anyway”. It’s about God hanging us (His masterpieces) on the gallery walls…despite our sin/shame. Because He loves us and sees us for who we are in His eyes.

    (You’re welcome.)

  10. I love your take on this! Thanks for the link. =)

    and the picture of your girls is precious. nothing cuter than little feet in ballet slippers, right?

  11. Hi friend! I think you’ve got it! Since I’ve been saved 9 years ago, I realize that what we do on this earth should be for all Gods glory, and not our own. Without Him, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do. It’s only through Him that all things are possible. We are all sinners, which makes us imperfect, but we have Gods grace, and the bible says that that is sufficient!!!!

  12. You got it. Especially that I not only have to do…but do perfectly…it’s the struggle of the moment for me right now as you well know

  13. Quite interesting that I’ve been doing an exercise on the Facts, Promises, and Commands in the book of Ephesians. So this is fresh in my mind. We couldn’t possibly do enough. So, yeah, it’s up to us to BE, so He can help us DO. Loved this, and love you.

  14. I’m there, too. 30 years old and I cannot figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve gone back to school 3 times and changed my major every time. I never did finish college. There were always reasons to drop out. My biggest responsibilities are my husband and kids, but I’m not sure what(who) I will be when the kids are gone!

  15. carpoolqueen

    Ooooh….really liked what Becky said above. It makes me want to be older so that I can be past the angst.

    Having said that, I’ve learned (by seeing perfection in what the world would call “imperfection”) to let go of a little bit of the need to be perfect because only One Person gets to be perfect, so that job’s already taken.

    Still working through the “who I’m going to be when I grow up” stuff, but you know that and it’s been the subject of many a late night conversation between the two of us.

    But for TODAY, I’m His hands and feet to the people around me.

  16. Honestly, I read this post earlier and it has taken me all afternoon to think on it…

    Mostly, because my dream was to be a dancer/performer…and I had to let go of that dream.

    And I know that’s not what this post is really about, but sometimes (specifically, some certain-times-of-the-month times) I still ache from the loss of that dream.

    But the cool thing is that that wasn’t God’s dream for me.

    I dreamed of stardom, beauty, and grace. My dream was to be center-stage.

    God’s dream for my life? One that is robust, and full, multi-faceted. It certainly wouldn’t have fit into my tiny, limited, romantic notion of what I thought I wanted my life to look like and be.

    The life I live is His dream for me. And, now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a wife, mom, friend, and teacher is far more fitting than the slim picture I had envisioned for my life. Sometimes I still dream that pink, tulle-y, self-focused dream and I forget that God has called me to a deep and filling life. A humble life that isn’t supposed to hold ME at center-stage.

    His dream for me is worth earthly dreams set aside.

    The Lord reminded me of His call to this humble service this morning when I flipped to 1 Cor 1:26-31.

    Yes, I agree. There are times in life when God calls us to stop “doing”, especially when the “doing” isn’t the “best” for us. But often the “do/be” is one in the same: to sit with our faces lifted to Him, watching, waiting, listening for Him to tell us who we are, and who He purposes us to become.

    And the good news? As long as we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, there are no worries about what we want to be when we grow up, cuz we’ll always be growing in Him.

    Until one day…we will be right where we want to be, doing exactly what we were made to do, gazing face-to-face with the Person we want to see…

    Dream fulfilled.

    Love you.

  17. This was a great post Whimz! I have no wise words or constructive additions to it….my brain is running in so many directions lately. Because of that….this post was good for me to read. Now I’m going to read Sarah’s post….:)

  18. Love “Anyway”, Love Nichole, Love you.

    I’m working on a post in my head that has some of the same thoughts but relative to another subject…it’s crazy the lies we can buy in to as women…it’s quite the task to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

    Like I said on the Kellie edition of this post…it’s one I’ll read again and again.

  19. I’m going to have to think on this longer. At first I was like, I don’t have this particular struggle…

    then I started thinking of all I’ve been doing lately,

    and wondered ‘what am I trying to be?’

    hmmm. gonna have to chew on it for a minute.

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