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I Want to be His Daughter

Have you ever asked a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Perhaps the answers included becoming a teacher, a nurse, a basketball player or a lawyer. Is the question “What do you want to be,” the same as asking, “Who do you want to be?”

Think about these questions, “Does what you do for a living define who you are, your ability to be loved by others, or your relative importance?” Does your answer change if you answer the question first from our society’s point of view and then from God’s point of view?

 

There was a time in my life during which I placed so much importance on what I did, I confused my work-life with who I was. For example, I recall the sense of pride and importance that I felt when I worked as an attorney for a major oil company. I also recall how my self-esteem declined when I changed jobs and no longer had the name of a major oil company as part of my personal description. I had wrapped my identity and self-worth around what I did for a living and for whom I worked.

Our society seems to do the same thing. Some of us define who we are by what we choose as our work-lives. By defining who you are based on your work-life, the foundation for your identity, self-worth, and self-esteem can change upon a moment’s notice by circumstances beyond your control. If a woman bases her identity upon her career or job, what happens to her worth and identity when her position is eliminated, her job is out-sourced, or she is demoted?

Several years ago, I was talking to my sister about the rather bumpy summer that both of our families had faced at that time. Reflecting on the numerous medical tests that I endured in order to confirm that I did not have cancer, I commented to her, “God sure changes things. I can’t help but compare my feelings between the time that I was losing my job due to a pending corporate merger several years ago and my feelings while going through all those medical tests.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well, do you remember how stressed I was when I thought I was losing my job? I felt absolutely crushed and furious when I learned that the company was planning to merge with another and then close our offices. I was in a panic, believing that I was going to lose everything. Do you remember how I cried on your shoulder and you tried to reassure me that all would be okay?”

“I remember that,” she replied.

“In comparison, while I was going through these medical tests, I kept my focus on God. I sensed calmness in spite of my concerns for my future. I knew that God loved me and He would take care of me regardless of the test results. I felt better while going through all those medical tests, looking at a potential death sentence, than I felt when I thought I was going to lose my job.”

“Well, that was very different,” my sister responded. “Your job meant everything to you. It was who you were.”

“That’s my point. God changes things. My job is not who I am. I am a child of God.” I said. My sister nodded with a smile, indicating a new understanding.

Our work-lives are not who we are. In fact, they do not define us at all. Instead of building our sense of identity and purpose upon our work-lives, which are shaky foundations at best, we should remember that God himself and his love is the foundation for each of our identities. The Bible says that through the love of the Father, we are his children (1 John 3:1) and God will be a father to us (2 Corinthians 6:18). We are his offspring (Acts 17:28). We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and he defined us when he knit each of us together in our mother’s wombs (Psalm 139:13).

Instead of asking someone what they want to be when they grow up, maybe the better question is “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” If who we are is built on the foundation that we are children of God, made in his image and loved by him, then we will find strength in all circumstances. Through Him we have a foundation that will never fail us.

Who are you? Who do you want to be? Is it time to re-focus?

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