Awhile back a friend of mine asked my twelve year old daughter this question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” “ I don’t know,” was the reply and then she went on to list the possibilities all the while looking at me as if to say, is this okay? I don’t know. My friend replied he still didn’t know what he wanted to do either and he was 50. We all had a chuckle.
Fast forward to four days ago when someone I knew died unexpectedly. A stage 5 brain aneurysm. I had just met her briefly a few months ago, her husband is the Executive Pastor where I work and they had just moved to Colorado from Dallas. I liked her right away because of her smile and the genuine way in which she engaged in conversation. We had a few brief talks with the promise of getting together to have coffee and looking forward to getting to know each other. That is no longer an option and that makes me sad. I attended her funeral and was amazed to see the number of people who came even though she has not lived in our community for very long, she still was unpacking boxes.
Several people spoke at her funeral and I can tell you they didn’t dwell on her long list of accomplishments, her degree, or her physical self. They talked about things like how much she loved the Lord. How she adored her husband and kids and grandkids. How she was a mentor to so many younger girls. Her laugh, her smile, the warmth of her spirit and personality.
They talked about who she was, not what she did.
Later that day I sat in the orthodontist office waiting for my daughter to be seen and I began browsing through all the magazines on the table in the waiting room. The articles telling me what I should wear, how I can have fewer wrinkles, and beautiful hair. I read how I could have an organized closet and be the best cook and have the prettiest yard and make the best pie.
We are bombarded with shallow.
Not to say that I don’t like all of those ideas, I do. But am I really taking care of my soul and making a difference in the lives of those God has placed in my life? What will people say about me one day?
In the book of Ecclesiastes it states it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting. Now that I am in my forties that makes more sense to me. If I am at a party it is easy to have lots of small talk with everyone. Focusing on the shallow parts of our lives, never really getting past the football score or the cute dress. If I am at a funeral, I am looking at my own life and reflecting but also asking deeper questions of those around me.
How are you doing, really, how are you doing?
I am hoping to relay the importance of this message to my kids. It really is more important to consider who you are than what you do. Yes, I still will encourage them to be the best they can be at school and what they are pursuing in sports and life but I want to stress to them the essence of who they are in Christ will far outweigh any earthly accomplishment they can achieve. Teaching them that real fulfillment is found in serving, not being served. Teaching our kids the importance of placing God first in their lives is vital to who they become.
Parenting is a challenging task for sure. Many of us as adults still struggle with this concept and will ask the question, Who am I? It’s a good question to ask. It also is a question we should ask frequently. Is who I am who I really want to be? I will continue to rely on the Bible verse that guides me and work diligently to relay this to my children as well.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding:
in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Practicing the art of who I am over the what I do. Challenging for sure.
Now I challenge you to ask the same question of yourself, Who am I?
By Sherri Crandall
Wife to Rusty
Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church