June 3, 2013
Who Do You Want to Be?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Remember when you were younger, family and friends would ask, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
My answer would change each school year.
In 3rd grade, I wanted to do puppeteering. My mom was my hero when she signed me up for the puppet class at the library! Fourth grade brought change. Sketch pads were filled with my amateur drawings of figures doing life together. As I grew, so did my aspirations of what I wanted to do as an adult.
While I enjoyed the attention the "growing up" question gave, I really wish someone had asked me a different question. Instead of emphasizing what I wanted to do, how powerful it would have been if grown ups had asked, "Who do you want to be?"
The great thing is, it's not too late to ask myself this question. And I'm old enough to know where to find the perfect answer.
Galatians 5:22-23 describes many characteristics of a godly woman: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Bible describes these as the "fruit of the Spirit." They start in seed form when God's Spirit enters our heart, and they grow and develop with care and attention to the things of the Lord.
They're cultivated by reading the Bible, praying and listening to the Lord, and living them out. The more I practice them, the more I become them—and the woman God wants me to be.
Now, I am no longer the one being asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Instead, I have the opportunity to be the one asking. My daughters, ages 18 and 16, are just around the corner from living out their own adult lives. Posing the question to them, "Who do you want to be?" is so much more important than "What do you want to do?"
Do you want to be one who loves the least and the lost? What fruit of the Spirit do you want to be known for ... the girl with joy even in the struggles? The faithful friend who was loyal no matter what the cost?
By asking our kids these types of questions, we're teaching them to care more about their character than their career. When we do, we empower them that no matter what they do, they have developed a character they feel confident about.
Today, I'm going to ask my children: "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" If they can't come up with words on their own, I'll offer some help. The fruit of the Spirit is the perfect place to start: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, full of kindness and goodness, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.
Dear Lord, help me care more about my character than my career and to be more intentional about who I am rather than what I do. Give me words to teach Your wisdom on how to live a life that honors You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Is this a message you would want the girls in your community to hear? Contact Proverbs 31 Ministries and have Lynn Cowell come share this message with those near you.
His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year by Lynn is for girls ages 13 to 18. These two resources will help the girl in your life make wise choices. It is a great study for moms and daughters to bond over too!
Reflect and Respond:
In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to ask your child, or someone you love, "Who do you want to be when you grow up?"
Before you ask, think of who you want to be (based on the fruit of the Spirit) so you can have a sharing time together.
Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 03 June 2013.