Yesterday my six year old son told me that our black lab puppy was a stray. My husband and I both quickly corrected his misunderstanding, telling him that we paid money for Daisy Mae; that we bought her from a man who loved labs and wanted other families to have a good dog like he did. This small and somewhat insignificant conversation led my thoughts in a direction of accomplishments and credentials. You see, our family puppy is AKC registered, just like our almost 13 year-old black lab, Bailey. My husband and I have had a positive experience investing in a registered dog. We have a sense of security knowing that there are standards that must be met to have that label on a litter of puppies.
Some may scoff at our motivation to purchase a branded puppy when there are so many who need adopted and rescued. Even so; all dogs need a home, no matter the route. But my question is, don’t we all do that in a way? Don’t we all look at certifications, accomplishments and credentials and see someone who had ambition, who had dedication and tenacity, someone who buckled down to reach an achievement? Those labels communicate that this individual met a set of standards.
Coming into the New Year we are inundated with messages of resolution and change. It would be interesting to know the number of people who are committed to a goal simply by a New Year’s resolution. I imagine it’s just not enough. We can’t allow the world to tell us what label we should wear. It’s not the vehicle we drive, the home we live in, the money we make, or for goodness sake, the dress size we wear. Our labels must be rooted first and foremost in our walk with the Lord. The Word tells us in Matthew 6:33; “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
This truth has been illustrated to me in my life. I grew up with an importance and value put upon education. My Dad was the first person in his family to graduate from college. It was an accomplishment laden with challenge. He was thirty-one, divorced, with a child, by the time he finished. He wanted it to be easier for his children, but sometimes the greatest satisfaction comes through the hardest challenges. Sometimes the Lord’s calling isn’t in a step-by-step process that is comfortable for us. I experienced that as a wife and mother of four trying to complete not only my bachelor’s degree, but nursing school. It wasn’t easy, but it was wonderful! It was wonderful because I knew, without a doubt, that I wasn’t seeking a label, I was being obedient to a magnificent calling that the Lord placed upon my life. And He used my children to reveal it to me. It just took time, and His timing is perfect.
As we step into the New Year, seek the Lord first. Our greatest accomplishments are found in Him. He is our standard. There is no greater label than “child of God.”
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