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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Becoming Part 1: When I grow up, I...




Proverbs 19:21
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

“When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut.” This was my career of choice as a kindergartener. This dream quickly vanished when our teacher brought in an astronaut who, during his presentation, asked us to brush our teeth without water to get a real taste of life on a spaceship with different kinds of limitations. I thought this was the most repulsive thing, and decided that being an astronaut was not for me!  “When I grow up, I want to be a model.” This was my declaration in first grade when I created a “Me Book” in class.  My grandmother always told me that I looked like a little model. That dream lasted for a few years until I entered the painfully awkward stage of middle school, where I decided that I should switch to a new dream. As women, we all have dreams of becoming different things. Many young girls dream of becoming a wife or a mother. Others have dreams of becoming a career woman. I remember as a child driving in my cousin’s power wheels jeep and dreaming of becoming old enough to learn how to drive. I remember dressing up in dance costumes and dreaming of the day when I would become a beautiful teenager who was old enough to date and wear high heels and dresses. I remember learning cheers from my big sister who was a middle school cheerleader (which I thought was the coolest thing ever!) and dreaming of becoming one myself. I remember playing “teacher” with my sisters, cousins, and stuffed animals in hopes of one day becoming a real teacher with my own classroom. As a child, there were many things I wanted to become. And if we’re honest, we also become many things that we are not necessarily proud of. I never wanted to become critical of others or insecure about myself in different areas, but I admit these are two sins that often plague me. I never dreamed that I would become a mother in the same year that I became a wife, but that was what God had in store for me. So all that to say, there are many things we want to become, plan to become, don’t want to become, and don’t plan to become but in the end, all of these things shape who we are. 

So then, what does it mean to become something or someone? Again, according to Dictionary.com, “to become,” means: to come, change, or grow to be; to come into being. The word is a verb, and the definition clearly describes an active process.  We don’t just wake up one day and happen to be the person that we are things have happened to us and by us in order to shape who we have become. God created each one of us through our parents in order to come into existence. We became a person, a daughter. Our personalities have been shaped by different external and internal influences and choices. Who we have become has not happened by accident, and we are not destined to stay the exact same way that we presently are. I find this so encouraging because this means that if we have a goal and a desire of who we want to become, we can have an active part in the process of making that happen!  As a practical example, I wanted to become a teacher; therefore, I went to college to get an education degree and worked at a daycare and summer camp in order to gain experience with working with children.  I played an active role in becoming a teacher.

What kind of things shape who we are? When thinking about my own life and the different things that have played a significant role in who I am, I thought of three main things: the sovereign God, outside influences, and personal choices. God is a sovereign, wise Creator and Father who plays the most significant role in who I have become.  He controls our destiny.  (While I mentioned in the previous paragraph that we are an active part in the process and that we can pursue different goals and make different choices to become who we hope to be, ultimately, God is in control of it all and has created us for His purposes!  We are NOT ultimately in control of our lives.) He created me (I became alive!), He chose to save me (I became His child!), and He continues to pursue me each day that I walk with Him (I am becoming more and more like Him!). Outside influences have also shaped and continue to shape who I am. A few of these influences include my family (I became a daughter and a sister, and I was/am heavily influenced by how my parents have raised me), education, opportunities, living abroad, studying at a Christian school, being a member of a healthy church, experiencing the loss of family members and friends, etc. Lastly, many personal choices have shaped who I am today as well, including pursuing or neglecting my relationship with God in different seasons of life, studying to become a teacher, being in a relationship that led to becoming a wife and a mother, and reaping the consequences of different sins I’ve committed.  All of these different things have played a role in who I am some of which are out of my control and some of which my choices have produced the results. 

I promise there is a point to me sharing all of this personal information. J When I decided to write about what it means to “become”, my brainstorming list extended far past the length of one blog entry. Because of this, the conclusion to Part 1 will not be revealed until “Becoming Part 5”. I’ll hope you’ll stick around to see exactly where all of this is going!  In the end, I hope we’ll be able to see and be comforted by Proverbs 19:21 God’s plans and purpose will prevail in our lives as we become the woman of God that He will us to be through HIS strength and guidance! 

APPLICATION (so that we don’t just read without applying anything we’ve learned!)
-              Read Psalm 139.  Praise the Lord for creating you, knowing everything about you, being sovereign, loving you, and providing a way for you to become more and more like Jesus. 
-              Journal about the different dreams that you had growing up about who and what you wanted to become.  What were your motives behind these dreams? Why did you want to become that person?
-              Make an outline of the different ways God, outside circumstances, and personal choices have positively and negatively affected who you have become.
-              Ask the Lord to show you who HE wants you to be and reveal to you HOW to become a woman of God who is devoted to Him in EVERYTHING.    

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