Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pursuing Your Calling Rather Than Your Potential

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I received Amy Chua’s book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother this past Monday and could hardly put it down.  Our lives and parenting styles are vastly different; however, each page I read makes me think about why I do what I do and how I can do it better.  Each night after reading I went to bed and thought about why I felt something huge was missing when taking the Tiger Mother approach to parenting; it dawned on me that, while the dedication and service to the children achieving their potential was unmatched, serving others was not a priority as the child became the extreme focus of each and every day.  God gave me the gift of a servant’s heart, so it becomes a part of everything I do and what I try to teach my children.

At the same time as reading the book, I listened to a sermon from Pastor Mark Driscoll in his series on the gospel of Luke.  Jesus just gets through casting out demons and healing the sick and in Luke 4:42-44 He moves on.  As you can imagine, everyone wants Him to heal more people.  He has the power to make everyone well but He does not.  He tells them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”  You see, He has huge potential but a very different calling.  He does heal others and casts out more demons but His focus is on preaching per His calling.

I have a very dear friend, Hannah, whom I met on a mission trip to Ukraine.  We were there to be of service to orphans, while showing Jesus’ love to them.   Hannah distinctly heard God’s calling for her life to be one of service to Ukrainian orphans.  For the almost three years since our trip she has been back to Ukraine three times, staying 82 days.  Did I mention Hannah is still in high school?  Not only does she have a heart to serve, she excels academically and has the most amazing voice.  Before the first trip, she was planning on majoring in music.  After several trips, she had everything in line to study at a Ukrainian institute for her medical degree, while pursuing her ministry with the children in the orphanage system.  Just recently she decided that, although by being a doctor she could be of great service (she certainly has the potential for it), she also wants to focus on orphans and eventually to be a mother.  With wisdom beyond her years, she understands her purpose is not in line with her potential.  She is instead pursuing a ministry degree and planning her permanent move to Ukraine this summer.  That is inspiration and inspirational.

In high school I wanted to be an architect.  I received early admission to the school of my choice in their pre-architecture program but was persuaded to go into geological engineering because, at the time, there was not a job market for architects, and the engineering field was a prosperous one.  I did not end up getting that engineering degree because in my junior year I hit a breaking point while working on a physics problem requiring me to calculate some sort of friction some sort of monkey caused by climbing up a rope.  I could not care less and felt my chosen path was wrong for me.  Always being the one to make rash decisions based solely on emotion, I switched to biology without a plan for what I would ever do with a biology degree.  After MANY years of blowing aimlessly from job to job, I discovered teaching and found my calling.  I had never thought of teaching before but now after teaching both high school sciences and preschool students, I cannot imagine any other field of work.  Looking back, I would have been a great architect.  I have a great aptitude for math (or at least I did at one point) and love design, building, and creating.  I do not regret not following my calling back then, as I would not have the blessings and pure joy I have now, or maybe I would, it just would have been different. 

So while Amy Chua pushes her children to pursue their potential, I have chosen to push my children to pursue their calling.  Do I know what their calling is yet?  Honestly, no.  But I do have an idea of what their calling is not.  It is awesome Amy had the courage to write such a book and give us an insight to the hows and whys of being a Chinese Mother.  Reading this will make me push myself and my children a little harder, but in their pursuit of calling instead of that which the world deems as potential. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this. I have to struggle with my tiger mom qualities often. Just trying to realize that God has plans for my child that i cannot even conceive, and who am I to instill my will.

    Mother Teresa said this wonderful statement, and I think it is so relevant to this: “God hasn't called me to be successful. He's called me to be faithful.”