It was Saturday morning and I turned on the Disney channel for my girls to watch Doc McStuffins while I cleaned the kitchen after our slow and sticky breakfast.
I tuned out the noise of their show, until a Disney commercial drew me back in and I leaned over the sink to get the TV in my line of sight.
My little girls were glued as Disney princesses began to dance across the screen and the narrator opened with,
“For every girl who dreams big, there is a princess to show her it’s possible…”
Then the catchy, motivating, inspiring music came on,
You could be the hero
You could get the gold
Breaking all the records they thought, never could be broke
As the song continued, little girls did brave things on the screen: splashing into a lake from a rope swing, hitting the bullseye with a bow & arrow, and diving off the diving board to name just a few.
The music continued,
Do it for your people
Do it for your pride
How you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country
Do it for your name
Besides the catchy and inspiring tune, there was a lot to like about the message of the commercial. Be strong. Be brave. Try even if it means you fail. Do something for your people. Your country. Your family.
But then the next part is what really hit me.
‘Cause there’s gonna be a day
When your standing in the hall of fame
And the world’s gonna know your name
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world’s gonna know your name
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame
I began to think about what I would say to them. How I would point to the good while denying the message of self-glory that permeated the song?
And that was it – the self-glory – that was what caused an ache deep inside me somewhere.
I want my girls to be strong. I want them to be bold. I don’t want them to be afraid of failure.
But I never, ever want them to believe that their greatest accomplishments are the ones they see in this life. That being famous, popular, or taking the gold is where true happiness is found.
I won’t be sad if they are successful materially or socially in this life. I wan’t them to do what they enjoy and love. But I pray that whatever shoots they grow here in this world, their roots in God’s kingdom are at least twice as deep.
This is where the invisible line is drawn.
Between the girls who grow up to believe that this life holds true happiness and the girls who know that this world is just the shadow.
This of course is the message of God’s kingdom versus the message of the world.
The world says, “Let the world know your name!”
Jesus says, “The meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).”
The world says, “Be first!”
Jesus says, “The last shall be first and the first last (Matthew 20:16).”
It doesn’t make sense, but it is the gospel.
We bring nothing. He offers everything (2 Kings 5:13-14).
He was born in a manger not a palace. He suffered on a cross instead of bringing a political and military victory. A crown of thorns instead of gold. Buried in another’s tomb instead of the royal burial He deserved.
He said His way is narrow and not broad (Matthew 7:14).
It is all just so paradoxical.
That living for His glory not our own is what it actually means to invest in the Kingdom.
It all matters so much. The things nobody sees but that are done in the name of Jesus.
The young woman serving on the mission field. The single mom trusting God with her future. The seminary wife living on a tight budget. The mother rocking her baby in the solitude of the night. The daughter caring for an ailing parent. The mom pleading to God on behalf of her wayward child. The woman who serves faithfully week in and week out in her church.
Some of the greatest acts of valor may never be known in this life. But there are women all over the world investing in a kingdom that cannot be seen. Because they love Christ, they have given all they have. They have broken the vial of costly perfume and poured it out on the head of their Savior because they love Him (Mark 14:3).
That is what I want my dear girls to know. That their greatest acts aren’t done in their own strength for their own glory, but for Him. And in those moments, and in this land of the dying, they will find a happiness that cannot be rivaled. It is better than if the whole world were applauding them.
Cause there will be a day, when we are all standing in the true hall of fame. And Jesus will be there – the brightest flame – and we will wonder why we ever wanted to live for our own names. We will forget ourselves and we will thank God for every act of grace He gave us on earth to see beyond the temporal.
So dream big, my darling daughters, because if you are His, He has made it possible. Because you belong to a royal kingdom. And in that kingdom is where the true and happy daughters dwell. And all their dreams come true because they find their beginning and ending in Him.