Why is it that from the moment a child is conceived the plans and conjecture begin? That promise and potential of new life is so palpable to parents, grandparents, and friends geared up to go along on the adventure. Even in the womb the speculation begins. Grace was a “mover” in the womb. My best friends Tamara and Charlotte would say, “She’s dancing! OH! She’s going to be a dancer!” Then when Grace was born she had ridiculously long fingers. “Oh, long fingers! She’s going to be a piano player!” And, when she started wrapping her fingers around other people’s it was: “Oooo! Good grip! She’ll be a golfer!” Lately she is obsessed with teeth. She says “Teeth! Teeth!” She wants to brush her teeth, she points at her teeth, your teeth, Daddy’s teeth, the cashier and waitresses’ teeth. She’ll poke her fingers right into your mouth to point at your teeth… Clearly she will be a dentist!
I can’t wait to hear what Grace says to that age old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wanted to be a princess (go figure), then a jockey (???), then the first woman president (oh, no!) and a teacher. I guess we had to know the teacher one would pan out. I am still convinced my brothers hated real school because I made them “play” school with me and actually graded their “work!” My friend Charlotte’s three year old daughter, Emma, was recently asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer: “A Mommy.” Talk about adding some perspective to the significance of that job!
In the midst of watching our beloved children grow we are filled with expectations, dreams, ideas and wondering about “what” they will be. And as they grow up they join in those dreams about the future with their own ideas. Amidst the dreaming and wondering, college funds are opened, savings bonds purchased, bank accounts set up, all investments of preparation for the future potential of that little life.
As we were setting up Grace’s college fund I remember being stunned by fear at the thought: “What if she never goes to college? What if she’s just a hair dresser?” (Oh-Jeeze, no idols there, huh? And then I smacked myself. Literally- It’s just best to beat down your idols as soon as they start to surface, but really that’s a topic for another day.)What is that, anyway? “Just a hair dresser? Like I’d love Gracie any less. And I saw Jesus shaking his head at me- “I love unconditionally; hair dressers and high school drop outs too!” I reminded myself that I searched high and low, and would be willing to pay three times what my hair dresser charges because she is so good. (Oh-boy, hope she doesn’t read this post- my rates might go up!) But, really- Just a hairdresser! PLEASE! I think to myself, “You’re ‘just’ a teacher” What? “Just” a teacher? Where does this mentality come from? My husband, Doug, deals with people thinking of him as “just a” director of a summer camp, (like that’s a Peter Pan life- of course there is no stress involved in being responsible for the lives and safety of other human beings!)
I am floored by the mentality of “just a….” I’m “just a” mom, She’s “just a” store manager, he’s “just a” computer technician… where do these definitions of our identity come from? And why do we minimize the value of others and of ourselves based on occupation, education, economic status or lack-there-of? (Except of course, doctors and lawyers… no one is “just a doctor!”) But really, why do we think like this?
The truth is we are all just exactly a masterpiece made by the hands of God. He perfectly crafted each of us.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139: 13-14)
He has plans for each of us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
And whether we are young, old or middle-aged He has endowed us each uniquely with His gifts, each of these gifts given to us with the intention they be used for His purpose.
Whenever my friend Charlotte and I talk about something being “just right” we say: “It’s Goldilocks!” In God’s eyes none of us are “just a.” In God’s eyes we are all “Goldilocks”- just right. Not perfect by the world’s definition, but made perfect in Him, because we are His masterpieces, hand-crafted to be “just right.” And like we parents watching our children grow-up wondering- “What will they be?”, the Lord, God looks on with the same longing at us. He has plans and ideas for us, about how we can be used to further the Kingdom, to make the name of Jesus famous in all the Earth, and He has equipped us with every gift and every provision we need to fulfill our destiny.
Every day we are all “growing up” in the Lord. Our identity is not in the label of being “just a ‘something’” (fill in the blank). Our identity is in Christ, and we are laborers for the kingdom! The only question that remains is- “What do we want to be when we grow up?” Or perhaps a better question, might be: since we are all growing up each day in our spiritual walk (or at least, that’s the intention!), “What are we going to be AS we grow up?”
Doug says he can’t wait to instill in Grace the idea that he does not care what she is or what she does, so long as she does her best with the gifts she has been given. God has bestowed those gifts that she might do her part to make her corner of the world a better place. And so isn’t that how it is with each of us? Be we President of the Country, or President of the PTA, President of the Company or President of the Local Little League Association, we all have something God wants us to do in those fields.
And when we reach our maturity date in this world, all “grown up” and moved onto the next, won’t we all want to hear our Father say: “Well done, my good and faithful servant?”
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)