Recently I asked my nine-year-old daughter what she wants to be when she grows up.
She eagerly replied, “I want to be awesome and make history!”
Exactly how she plans to make history is up in the air, because at her age, that part is irrelevant. All she knows is that she wants her life to count. She wants to matter. She wants a life of significance that people will remember.
And if we’re being honest, don’t we all feel the same way? Don’t we all long to leave a legacy that outlives our time on earth and keeps our memory alive?
Our desire for a meaningful life is good because God planted the desire in us. He created each of us for a special purpose that will leave the world better than we found it.
Sometimes, however, we mistakenly assume that a meaningful life must be grand and spectacular. We look for big signs, big assignments, and clearly significant work. And when they don’t come, we get discouraged. We question our value and wonder if God is ignoring us to tend to the more important people.
But God never ignores us. He thinks about us constantly and speaks all the time. The problem isn’t His lack of attention to us, but our lack of attention to Him. As Job 33:14 says, “For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.” Usually when we miss God’s presence, it’s because we’re overlooking the small moments and small assignments where He quietly reveals Himself
Sometimes when I forget the value of the small, I think of Mother Teresa, recently canonized as a saint. Mother Teresa had a simple philosophy known as “the little way,” which involved doing small things with great love.
Her entire legacy was based on loving the person in front of her. Her inspiration was St. Therese of Lisieux, who came up with “the little way” and has been acclaimed as the greatest saint of modern times because her spirituality has influenced millions.
St. Therese saw herself as the “little flower of Jesus,” created to give glory to God by simply being herself among the flowers in God’s garden. Just as a child becomes enamored with whatever is before her (and can be fascinated by a simple flower), St. Therese believed we should also have a childlike focus and be completely attentive to the person before us.
In her autobiography “Story of a Soul,” St. Therese said that not every flower can be a rose. Some flowers were created to be wildflowers, daisies, or violets.
“I understand how all the flowers God has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.
I understand that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers.
So it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He has created smaller ones and those must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.”
What St. Therese recognized is how most humans, deep down, long to be roses. We believe that making an impact requires us to be the showstopper that gets noticed and praised often. We fear that being anything other than the rose makes us less special — and less important to God.
But every flower is special to God because God made every flower. He loves variety and the beauty that variety brings. Far more important than how the world sees us is how God sees us. And when we bloom where we are planted, and stay true to our design, we bring God tremendous joy. He delights in us with equal pleasure, whether we’re a rose, a violet, or a wildflower.
Our world’s idea of a significance is to have a wide impact. But I believe the most influential people are those who have a deep impact. More than altering the course of history, they alter the course of someone’s soul. They understand how bringing just one person closer to God makes them an undeniable success in His book.
Whatever flower God wants you to be, be a good one. Use your life to make an eternal difference, not a temporary splash, by embracing simple acts of love.
If your name ends up in history books because of your life’s work, then that’s fantastic. If not that’s okay too, because you’re still awesome in God’s eyes. You can still make history by heaven’s standards by valuing the size of your love for God over the size of your assignments, and finding peace in the joy you bring Him even when nobody else is looking.
Thanks for reading this article today. If you found the message helpful, please share it through social media.
Also, I’ve written two books for teen & tween girls designed to empower them through faith. The newest one, Liked, is getting a fantastic response as a unique resource for girls of the digital age, and along with the bestselling 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, it’s being used widely across the U.S. for small group studies.
Have a great day, and thanks again for stopping by!
Posted by Kari on September 6, 2016