When I was in the 4th grade, the girls in my class made up a game we played at recess. I don't recall much about how we played it, but I do remember that one of the girls was designated as being the "Queen Bee." Of course, she was the prettiest, most popular girl in the class. Two other girls were the "Princess Bees," and they were the two most dominant girls in the 4th grade social hierarchy. The rest of us were called "Worker Bees," and we had the job of waiting on and protecting the Queen and Princess Bees. Since I was one of the smallest and youngest girls in the class, I did not rank high in that hierarchy. I never dreamed of trying to be a Queen Bee or Princess Bee because, even by that age, through some hurtful experiences and some shame-based teaching I'd received, I had already come to believe that I was "less than," that I wasn't good enough, and I sure wasn't supposed to shine. I remember embracing my 4th grade identity and enthusiastically throwing myself into being a "worker bee." And that was how I got to belong.
What have you done in your life to belong, to be accepted, to be someone of significance? What has become your identity?
If who I am today could go back and connect with my 4th grade self, I would give her a big hug and tell her, "Honey, you are exactly who God designed you to be. You don't need a crown or a title to be worthwhile. In fact, no earthly crown or title could ever make you more acceptable to or more loved by God. You already are enough. And while you might be small in stature, God didn't plan for you to live small. You were put together in an amazing way to fulfill a particular purpose on earth which is going to require you to shine, not for your own benefit, but to be a reflection of God's love to the world."
If who you are today could go back in time and connect with a younger self, how old is the part of you who would benefit from hearing an affirming message? What would you love to be able to tell her or him?
As I look back over the years of my life, I've not done anything spectacular that made me famous or successful. In the eyes of most of the world, I'm a nobody. But what I have come to realize is that none of that really matters. Discovering and embracing my truest identity and living out God's purpose for my life is what matters, and that has been the best adventure I could ever ask for! While it hasn't always been easy or pain free, and I sometimes couldn't see what was around the next bend in the road of my life, yet it's been an adventure I wouldn't trade for anything. It's been one that has included:
* Connecting with younger parts of myself who, at one time, believed things that didn't match God's perspective of me.
* Letting go of whatever negative, shame-based beliefs I held, and internalizing the amazing, incredible truth of who God designed and planned for me to be.
* Listening to and following my heart as I sought to discern what God wanted to do in and through me during my years on earth.
* Trusting that there was Someone with me throughout that journey who calmed me when I was scared, carried me when I was tired, comforted me when I was sad, encouraged me when I was discouraged, directed my path when I didn't know where to go, who loved me with the kind of love that was fully accepting, always embracing, never shaming, and who blessed my life with some wonderful friends and family!
You also were designed by God in an amazing, incredible way! How Heaven sees you, your truest identity, is way better than how you see yourself. And you were born for a reason with a particular purpose to fulfill. Asking yourself these two questions, "Who am I really, from Heaven's perspective?" and "What is my life's purpose?" are two of the most important questions you could ask yourself. They can also turn your life into a great adventure as you seek to find the answers.
So, if you've never answered those questions for yourself, or even if you've never asked them, my hope is that in this coming new year of 2023, you will go further on that journey, wider in your explorations, and deeper into the adventure. Have a blessed and Happy New Year!