I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ll bet you have asked that question of children numerous times. At what age do you remember first being asked that question? Do you recall some of your early answers? At the root of the question is an even more important life-purpose question – “who do you want to become?” From childhood on, that question can intrigue, inspire, infatuate or infuriate us our entire lives.
Why do we find ourselves, like hiking some circuitous looping trail, repeatedly stumbling back upon that same probing question? For one thing most of us in our unguarded moments would admit we still feel like eternal kids or teenagers in our heart of hearts. There is a sense we have when confronted with our own vulnerability or weaknesses or failures that we really have not progressed as far in life as we had imagined; and in fact may be stuck in a kind emotional adolescence still groping with questions of that sort.
I had a friend, a diminutive woman with the boldness of a lion, who was a social worker in a men’s residential treatment center. She made it her practice to stand toe to toe with new residents, and while staring up at them and pointing her forefinger at their chest she would ask, “How old are you? I mean really, not chronologically, but inside, how old are you?” And she told me in her many years working there nearly every man gave the same essential answer. They all admitted to still being teenagers.
“Who do I want to become?” Why do we keep coming back to that question? Probably the most salient reason is that it is all too easy to repeatedly get side-tracked by seemingly urgent and persistent questions such as “What do I want to get done?” The pressure of getting things done often preempts and causes us to disregard the more important focus of pursuing who we want to become.
So much of life is measured by accomplishment that we fall into the trap of being more concerned with doing than being and becoming. Whereas our doing should be informed by and serve to move us toward who we want to become, instead it becomes an end unto itself. Doing for doing sake is deadly. Defining who you want to become and doing the things necessary to get your there is life giving.
One day the time will come when the epitaph and eulogies are being written on earth by those who knew you and when the book of life is being read in heaven by God who knew you best. What do you want to be written of you? From eternity’s eyes it is always more about who you become than what you get done. In essence becoming is really about discovering and fulfilling divine purpose. Becoming is preeminent in God’s plans for our lives. He created each of us with gifting and purpose to the intent that we might in life’s journey fully realize who we were meant to be. In other words we realize we can become who He has already created us to be.
This truth applies in our lives no matter what our profession, state or season in life. In fact, I am realizing in my semi-retirement that the becoming question is as relevant and life defining as never before. I have been meditating upon this thought lately. How would my day be different if I started it by asking the question, “who do I want to become today?” rather than “what do I want to get done today?” It is probing and prodding thought and it is changing how I craft and prioritize my daily to do list.
Who do you want to become? You can never outgrow or be too educated, accomplished and sophisticated to set aside that question. This side of the grave it is never too late to align yourself more fully with God’s purpose and plan for your life. Why not make it the defining decision of your life today!
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