What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Jeremiah 29:11 "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."

It was a day I had looked forward to for over a month - career day at school. I was midway through my elementary years and ready to take the world by storm. After hearing from some special guests speak about their chosen professions, it was our turn to go around the circle and share our future career dreams.

Many of the boys wanted to be cowboys, fireman, policeman, doctors and lawyers. The common theme amongst the girls in my class was singing, acting and dancing. A felt a collective breath was drawn as the attention turned to me. My turn was next. "When I grow up, I want to be a stand-up comedian," I proudly declared. That statement was met with laughter all right. My classmates were laughing at me and what a silly idea they thought that was.

Although their laughter stung, they were right about it being a silly idea. It never occurred to me at the time that in order to be a comedian, one had to get up in front of large crowds (terrifying!) and then there's the issue of actually being funny. I crack myself up. It must be everyone else that needs to work on their sense of humor. It's probably a good thing that I limit my act to my family and closest friends.

This morning I am reading Acts 20:17-38. This section opens with Paul sending for the elders from Ephesus and then records the tender, but wise words he speaks to them prior to his departure. This is the type of passage that I read and am almost overcome by the amazing testimony and life of a man like Paul. Today as I read, Jesus whispers in my heart that He has a special purpose for my life as well.

Excited, I dream about all the possibilities. Perhaps my vision of being a comic will be awakened. Better still, maybe God will supernaturally endow me with flexibility and balance so I can perform in the circus. Okay, maybe not. The truth is, God has already called me to very important roles for His kingdom - wife and mother. The pay is nonexistent, the hours gruelling and the titles are not glamorous but yet these jobs are critical. These are to the jobs God has called me to. In the text, Paul makes three statements that will help me better perform in my current roles:
  • I served the Lord with great humility and with tears (Verse 19) - There is not a single day when I feel truly equipped to be a wife and mother. In fact, I "fail" at my job with great regularity. I'm grouchy with Scott. I have unrealistic expectations of my children. I have a lousy attitude. Here though, Jesus is telling me just to relax. The only real requirements of my position are humility and tears. Humility means being willing to daily admit to God that I can't do this job without Him. Tears means being willing to put my whole heart into the job, never holding any part of me back from Scott and the kids.
  • 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 (Verse 24) - Jesus gave me this job to do. My part is to rely on Him daily so that I actually complete the work. What does that mean in a marriage? It means divorce is not an option. It means serving my husband to the best of my ability even when I don't feel like it. It means doing my best to meet his needs - sexual, emotional, social and physical. What does this mean as a parent? It means staying actively engaged in their lives. It means taking primary responsibility for teaching them about Jesus. It means making the most of every opportunity I have to influence and teach.
  • Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (Verse 28) - Notice that my childhood dream did not include management responsibilities. This is not something that comes naturally to me. While I have natural leadership skills, those are definitely not the same as natural management skills. My husband is an excellent manager. I am not. I prefer for everyone to be happy and get along every second of the day and I definitely prefer for everyone to like me. Neither of those are a possibility at all times if I am going to be an overseer. I have to set aside my need for peace and popularity, in order to be the overseer of the home that God has called me to be.

Jesus, thank you for giving me a life with purpose. Even though I never became a stand-up comedian, Your dreams for me were far better, richer and more fulfilling. Help me today to be faithful to fulfill Your calling on my life with humility and tears. Help me persevere in this calling and be an overseer, first of myself, and second over those You've put in my life to shepherd.

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