A tall piece of pink card stock graced my dresser top throughout 2013. A list of specific goals. Not so much resolutions to begin on January 1st as they were habits or accomplishments to develop and fulfill throughout the year. It made January easier to swallow in 2013, knowing that I didn’t need to miraculously morph overnight into a super-human goal-conqueror.
Some goals I met. Many I didn’t. One I knocked out of the water.
But everyday, I’d see my list and have direction. So, even on those goals I didn’t fully meet to utmost perfection, I still worked on…still kept at the forefront of my mind what mattered.
This year, I felt a tug from the Lord to shift a little. Rather than a neat list of my top ten for this new year, He gave me two words. Two simple words that underscore a depth tremendous.
Freedom. As in freedom to be exactly who God has designed me to be. As in freedom from the fear of man.
Gratitude. The kind of gratitude Ann Voskamp portrays with exquisite and agonizing beauty in her book One Thousand Gifts. Gratitude that embodies a habit of thanksgiving for both big and small. Gratitude that opens the door to joy and grace. Gratitude that is deeply thankful for the life that already is rather than constantly hoping for the things which are not.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Freedom…Gratitude…A new way of thinking…A new way of being…that will touch every area of my life and, hopefully, the lives of everyone I touch.
So, with a fresh slice of card stock, resembling the sandy grains of dirt into which God breathed the Breath of Life, I begin a new year. Not so much a list of to-do’s. Much more it is a list of “just be” and be fully.
One pet peeve I’ve had as long as I can remember is when I hear people ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My problem isn’t at all with hearing about their interests and dreams. Those are wonderful (and often hilarious) conversations to have! My concern is the word “be”.
The real question they’re intending to ask is, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” But when we use the word “be” we tie personal value to a job. Jobs come and go. They change over time for most of us. And though we gain new skills with each change, who we are stays the same. I am still Courtney whether I am teaching my kids addition, grocery shopping, writing a blog post or playing my guitar. My jobs include: mom, teacher, homemaker, writer and musician. But my being remains the same.
I’ve heard the quip many times, as I’m sure you have, “We are human beings, not human doings!” I love it! It is so true at its core. But, do we live like this? Do we raise our children like this? Or, are we so focused on the doing that we fool ourselves into thinking that we are actually being?
Is it as simple to define “being” as it is “doing”? My son wants to do the work of a firefighter…My daughter, a ballerina. But who will they BE?
My prayer over them is that they be leaders worthy of following, reflecting the identity of Jesus in their lives. I pray over them, just as Paul encouraged Timothy, that they would set examples to others “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12) It doesn’t matter what job you have…what you do! You can be this kind of example regardless of a career choice or benefits package or salary size.
This is one primary reason why, as we homeschool our kiddos, we focus more on character building than stressing on academics. The academics are so important and have their time and place, without doubt! But, they are futile if we neglect to train up the beings of our children! I would much rather raise a kind, loving, generous, humble child, than a selfish, arrogant, prideful child who may do a bit better on academic fact-regurgitation. I fail them if I only fill their minds with information and neglect to nurture their souls with God.
Who do you want your children to be? Who do YOU want to be?