Who Do You Want To Be?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recently, I've come to a collective (and probably incomplete) conclusion about purpose.

The vast majority of us are pushed throughout our development to decide what it is we want to be. Children grow up with dreams of being doctors, lawyers, scientists, what have you-- with hopeful hearts full of ambition and dreams of making their parents proud and helping the community around them. And this in and of itself is great. It is awesome that children grow up with a dream, a passion, something to look forward to. On the other hand, what's not so idealistic is the way we tend to hold onto these things that we formulated in our childhood on what we should be. Students go to middle school, high school, and then to college, where they often don't have the opportunity to dabble around in a multitude of subjects that may tickle their fancy (whether it be curriculum restrictions, financial inability, what have you) and continue down a road to become what they've been reciting since they were ten to each person who asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up. 

Some people really know. They have it embedded in their hearts and it truly does end up being the right field for them and they're financially stable and are able to support themselves and their families and it's just great. Some people thought they really knew, but find themselves unhappy, confused, lacking, and in general discontent. Some people find themselves in the middle. They love what they do, but they are still searching for more. & Some people never had a clue to begin with. But let's go back to those initial thoughts, as a child where many of us first proclaimed what we desired to be when we grew up.

Perhaps it's more of what we wanted to do than what we wanted to be. Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I feel like what we want to do says so much more about us than what we want to be. You may want to share with people the gift of music, or help developmentally challenged children, to save people from burning buildings, to soothe patients in their last leg of life, to feed the hungry, to share the gospel, to show people new perspectives through art, to create work that allows people to escape from reality for a bit, whatever it may be. 

I have so many talented, talented, multi-faceted friends who can do more than just one craft. That may have a direction in which they're establishing their profession, but it's just one small part of their great gifts.

A new friend of mine currently teaches dance and gymnastics to kids. From this you could probably grasp that she's a dancer/gymnast and maybe has an interest in working with children. However, you wouldn't know that she's a ballerina, a skilled competitive surfer, an artist, and interested in software development, loves to share the gospel and talk about Jesus and is dedicated to empowering women who are victims of sexual harassment.

Another very good friend of mine is currently finishing up her last semester as a Music Therapy student. From this you could probably figure that she is interested in helping others to regain strength in different areas and that she can probably play an instrument. However, you wouldn't know that she can play multiple instruments, has a beautiful voice, leads worship at conventions across the state and at her church, is the president of a youth group at her school, blogs, is an amazing calligrapher, and has amazing depths of wisdom and one of the biggest hearts of encouragement I've ever encountered.

Summing up people by a profession really isn't enough. Asking kids what they want to be, perhaps isn't the right question. Maybe "What do you want to do?" should be shifted to a series of actions we want to be taking a certain point in our lives rather than what profession we want to be in. Volunteering our time, helping others, spreading the gospel, creating meaningful art, etc. These are the things that give life meaning and value. And yes, maybe you're able to find glimmers or huge globs of the things that give your life purpose in your very profession and that is truly fantastic. But I think maybe our society should work from the core -- from the inside out. To have the mind of children, who's usual basis of what they want to become surrounds around the idea of helping people. So people aren't chasing after solely money and fame, but instead seeking ways to contribute to society, to give to the people of this world. And then taking a glance at what are passions are, what things did God put on our heart that fuel us. And then looking at which professions could help us fulfill these spiritual desires, would allow us to feed and grow our passions, and could also place bread on the table as well. Maybe things would simply be better put asking "WHO do you want to be?"In which it could be said, "I want to be the type of person who loves unconditionally, who you can go to in need, who's going to save lives, cure cancer, make a difference.." whatever those passions might be crying out to. Because this life is meant to be one of purpose. Don't waste it feeling stuck being whatever you feel you ought to. Instead, fulfill it, seep into every crevice of your individual mold, flourish and leave the impression you were set on this planet to make.

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