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
I loved this post friend. im in the 33 spot this week!
Visiting from FMF. I love this story but felt a little pain when I first read what your daughter said. Although, when I thought about it, that was her way of saying that you sustain her. You get what she needs. At that moment, it was getting Bologna, but it was also so much more. And I love that you can see that if that is what she chooses to do, it will be just as meaningful. Thanks for sharing!
I love your daughter’s answer to the question! And I agree, it’s easy to define our identity by what we do and how that looks in the world’s eyes, but in the end being faithful to God’s calling for us is what that matters, whatever that may be.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Loved this, Stephanie.
A few year ago we found Bella The Miracle Dog, with her back broken, lying in a flooded ditch. She actually has some spinal response (and today walked a few steps!), but she needs a bit of help in doing the necessities. A little pressure in the right place, and she’s happy.
“Daddy’s job is helping me poop.”
I have a PhD in structural engineering, but I’ll take Bella’s job description any day.
#1 at FMF this week.
kelly @kellyblackwell says
Stephanie, I was going to reply yesterday after I liked your post, and then the internet went out in the library! ARGH!
I love your words. I love how your daughter wrote the best she could what you did back in the day and knew that she wanted to do it too. And now you have this beautiful daughter who is going to impact the world in the way that only she can. So awesome!
I love that God’s purposes win out in the end. It can be hard wrestling with that at times. I know I have at least.
Have a beautiful day and a wonderful week.
God bless you!
A very late #70 this week.
Jeannie Prinsen says
I love that, Stephanie. Who we are matters more than what we do and how outwardly successful it is. That lesson goes straight against the influences around us, but it’s so important.
Jeannie (I’m at #19 this week in the FMF linkup)
Jeannie Prinsen says
Oops – #17, not #19!
Anita Ojeda says
🙂 I love that your daughter identified you with one of your many acts of service for your family. Above all, I want my daughters to find happiness–even if it’s in doing the mundane things in life!