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”….
or His “Starry Night” …..
or His Sistine Chapel….
….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.