When my daughter was a preschooler, she was asked to fill out a worksheet which identified her “world.” As expected, she was asked, “What does your mother do?”
Her answer? I go to the store and buy bologna.
After a gasp, I had to let that one settle. Really? That’s what I do?
I thought about my identity. For several years, I found fulfillment in my career in ministry. I had followed God’s leading on an unexpected journey. With it, came dreams and goals. And I saw the fruit of those seeds placed on my heart. Yes, it was my work but it was also my calling. God gave me that name (pastor) and that purpose for “such a time as this.”
At the time my daughter identified my new name (mom-who buys bologna), I was in the midst of recognizing my new calling. It was also work. Harder than I expected. Long hours of physical and emotional investment with few immediate rewards. And no pay. In fact, it cost us money.
But, this work was also a calling for “such a time as this.”
It took me a while to acknowledge that truth. Because our culture doesn’t.
We tend to be a culture that prides itself in work that reaps visible material fruit. Identities are largely defined by what we “do.” What we possess symbolizes how well we “do” it.
But what if, instead, we focus on who we are? Because who we are ought to dictate what we do. No matter how visible “it” is. Regardless of how much “it” pays.
It’s been thirteen years since she filled out that worksheet. And during that time, I have learned to embrace the work God gave me. My daughter is about to enter her senior year and is thinking about her future. She feels led to study culinary arts and maybe own a cafe.
Maybe she will. But she also may be called into a similar place of work as I. When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, she responded, “I want to go to the store and buy bologna.”
If that’s the work God has called her to, then I say “Amen.”
“A person may have many plans in their heart. But the Lord’s purpose wins out in the end.” Proverbs 19:21