There’s a show on TLC that I love called “Who Do You Think You Are?” It takes celebrities on an ancestry journey to find out where they came from – the place and the people. They learn that some of their passions were shared by great-grandparents 12 times over. They learn that who they thought they were, where they thought they came from, and their own family’s legacy often looks very different than what they believed. Like some kind of family tree history muffled in a game of centuries of “telephone.”
One side of my own family has been traced back to the 1770s, and I was surprised to see that nearly all of them lived in – or very near – the same small town where I’m raising my family. There are teachers and pastors in my family tree, nurses and business owners. There are photos like this one that make me realize how little can change in appearances over the generations.
But I’m realizing it’s one thing to look at where I’ve come from, and yet something else entirely to think about what I want to be known for. When the littles of my littles go back through our ancestry, will they care that I had a large social media platform? Will they care if my name was on the cover of a book, that I led out on important projects, or spoke at events?
The more God asks me to discover the legacy I want to leave, the more I’m learning to embrace something a little smaller and quieter. Because, even as recent as last week, the striving to chase platform, promotion, and prestige left me exhausted and fearful. It made me feel insignificant and unsure and it was an easy entry point for what felt like a weekend of spiritual warfare.
It’s not to say that God won’t open some of those dream doors for me. He created me to be a communicator and I will continue to write and speak if He asks me to – but I need to honestly ask myself these questions: Would I rather be known for being obedient to God and trusting Him through all the foggy parts of the journey, or would I prefer to be known for achievements that glorify my kingdom instead of His?
So this week I’m leaning into small. I’m embracing the quiet that it brings, and feeling grateful for the time it gives me to hear God a little more clearly, to work at my own pace, and to be free of expectations. I’m appreciating that small gives me the chance to build deep relationships rather than wide ones, to write freely and feel comfortable in my own space. I’m enjoying the boundaries I can put on my time that tell my family they are more important than a deadline, an email, an obligation.
I want to be known for honoring God in the small parts of my life – even more than in the big, showy ones.
What about you? What do you want to be known for?