Jen’s Gem: God needs your who. Not your do.
Last week, I wrote about my dad turning 95. This milestone was greeted with ice cream cake and his eldest children singing happy birthday to him. Did he know it was his birthday? Did he know he was 95? A part of me hopes he did, but it’s likely he did not.
After my dad was hospitalized recently, so close to his birthday, I began to pray. I prayed for his recovery. I prayed he’d have good doctors and nurses taking care of him. I prayed for strength and wisdom for my brother and sister who manage his care.
I also prayed he’d make it to his 95th birthday because wouldn’t it be cool to say your dad is 95? Somehow being 94 wasn’t enough. Turning 95 was the ticket.
It was a milestone. And my dad deserved one more milestone before God calls him home. At least in my mind he did. His life was filled with achievements and recognitions and I wanted him to have one more. I wanted his dash to reflect another achievement.
His what? His dash.
The other night in my Bible study class, we were discussing our dashes. That line that is etched on people’s cemetery stones between the day they were born and the day they died, that represents their lives. We were asked what we most remembered or valued about the current state of our dashes, what we were most proud of.
What immediately came to my mind were my achievements. College degrees, awards, fancy job titles. I found myself thankful that our instructor did not call on me for an answer because the responses of my classmates were diametrically different than mine. They spoke of the impact they’d had on people’s lives through their work. They spoke of their spiritual journey and the progress they’d made. They spoke of the stuff that matters, their ‘who’, not their ‘do’.
It got me to thinking about my own ‘who’ and what might be said about me when the right side of my dash is punctuated with a date stamp. How will I be remembered? What will my eulogist say about me? (If this person is one of my children, don’t believe a word they say! I’m innocent, I tell you!)
I highly doubt that my degrees, awards, and job titles will come up for discussion during this time. And honestly, I sure hope they don’t. While these recognitions helped me to support my family over the years, I’m not sure they should be valued more than that.
However, for much of my life, this is exactly where I got my value. The more I achieved, the better I felt about myself. The more people patted me on the back, the more my self-esteem rose. If I didn’t get it, I crumbled. I didn’t know who I was. That’s the thing about living your life for the ‘do’s’. When they stop, you don’t know who you are. You forget that your value is not in your do, but your who.
These days, there are no more awards or impressive job titles. I’m a mom and a freelance writer. I’m supporting my family and working at a job I love. My dash right now is a bit lackluster. That’s ok. I’m working on shining it up. I’m working on my inside dash.
That’s the dash that matters. That’s the dash that God will look at when I meet Him face to face. You see, God is not impressed with my achievements, the “do’s” of my life. My resume will mean nothing to Him. He’s much more interested in my “who “. Who I became with the gifts He gave me. Who I helped because of the words He provided for me to write or speak. Who I loved and forgave.
What’s in your dash right now? Is it rooted in your do or your who? It may be time to do a dash checkup. Check your dash’s vital signs. Is it as healthy as you’d like – or is it in need of some attention?
While your dash is on the examining table, ask God what He’d like your dash to be. He planted it in you long before you were born and He’s waiting for you to discover it. He needs you to know what it is so that His purpose can be fulfilled in the world.
Find your who and your do will take care of itself.