Do you ever find yourself teaching your children a valuable life lesson, usually through a childlike story, and it’s as if God says, “That’s for you, too!” I seem to have these moments often, when I am the teacher or coach to my children, and I simultaneously find myself as the student, hearing the voice of The Great Teacher. This post is about one of those very lessons.
As a parent, I try to speak to my children based on what I know is true about them, what God says about them, and not on how they are acting. In other words, if one of my children is lying, I’m not going to say, “You are a liar!” If one is acting like a complete brat (yes, it happens at our house, too), I am not going to say, “You are such a brat, and you need to straighten up!” Instead, I do my best to remind them who they are, who they were created to be, knowing that how they are acting in a given moment doesn’t change who they are. Let me explain by sharing the story I often tell them.
There was a beautiful princess (or prince, depending on which child I’m talking to), who lived in a castle just outside the city. She was kind, gracious, and was a strong leader, who cared deeply for her people. One day, she decided she wanted to explore the city, as a common girl. She replaced her royal gown and tiara with jeans, a t-shirt, and a ball cap. As she strolled through the city, she ran into a group of other young girls. These girls were nothing like the princess. They were mean spirited, selfish, and simply out to do what they wanted, with no regard for others. In an attempt to simply blend in, the princess tried to emulate the behavior she saw in her new acquaintances, and in no time, she found herself being disrespectful to the people around her, unkind to those that got in her way, and instead of leading her people, she found herself joining them in behaviors and attitudes that she knew were wrong. These friends told her that this was the way to survive in the world, to find happiness, and to get what she wanted. For a time, the princess forgot who she was, what she really wanted, and what she was destined to do.
This is the part of the story where I stop and ask my kids if the princess’s behavior changed who she was. The answer, of course, is obvious. No matter how she looked or how she acted, she was still the princess and destined to lead her people to greatness. In these moments, she simply wasn’t playing her part or acting like who she was created to be. She was leaving the role God designed her to fill unfulfilled.
The young princess had a choice to make. The same choice we each have every minute of everyday. Are we going to play the part God has given us? Will we act like who our Creator says we really are, or will we allow the Enemy, our flesh, and our circumstances to determine our behavior. What’s true about us is what God says about us and nothing can change that. We are HIS workmanship (work of art), created in His image, and He has great works that He has already ordained for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). The question isn’t who we are, it’s will we play the part, stepping into the role He has called us to.
No matter where you are, the question is the same. Even when the princess was in the city, living contrary to who she was, she was still the royal princess. All she had to do, in order to find what she was looking for, was step back into the role she was designed to play. She had to act like who she really was. It’s the same for you and me…and for our children.
God has called each of us to greatness. He calls us His treasures, and we are to radiate Him. Because of Him, we are loving, kind, faithful, honest, loyal, strong, pure, gentle, self-controlled, and much more. We are filled with purpose. Whether we feel that or not, whether we are surrounded by an environment that reflects that for us or not, the reality is the same, and we have a choice. Will we act like who we are or will we choose to live contrary to who we are created to be, making choices that actually sabotage our real identity?
In the moments when we all find ourselves acting out of character, let’s quickly step back into the role we were created for and play our part. There are no understudies to your life’s role, so make the choice and be intentional to play your part today!