Ever since I was little, I've been dreaming about things I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, as a very little girl in ballet class, I wanted to be the ballerina center stage in Swan Lake. Then, there was the phase of loving Dorothy Hamill, and wanting to be a professional ice skater. Deep down, I knew I wanted to be a wife and have a family.
Throw in the phase of wanting to be a flight attendant, beach lifeguard, and various other professions; there finally came the day of picking a college major. I hated math, so that eliminated some careers right there. I always loved writing and words, so kind of half blindfolded, I picked English and Communications. (With my Father's suggestion of, "Be sure to take a good typing class," thrown in for good measure).
The emphasis has always been on "Being" something. The typing class did get me into a temp job that led to being a Relocation Specialist and then a Relocation Director for a large firm. So I "directed and managed".
Then came motherhood. I admit sometimes I struggled with "just being a mom". It didn't sound impressive until God impressed it upon my heart what a crucial and important profession Motherhood is. So, I took pride in the fact that I was "molding and shaping" young lives for the Lord.
Then I taught for a period, so I was a "teacher". I also taught Bible studies and Sunday school so "teaching" was my profession for some years. That was until the succession of surgeries sidelined me.
Ready to climb the walls during recuperation, I felt called to return to my first love of writing and started a blog (which you are now reading). I remember the day I proudly held business cards in my hand that said Beverly Duncan (my name at the time) and next to it was the word "Writer". A writer....after all, this was what I was destined to be. I had a college degree to prove it.
My blog then led me to start a Christian school in the Middle East (long but interesting story). So now I was "President and Founder". Impressive, huh?? You'd think by now, I would have satisfied that question of "What do I want to be when I grow up?"
While recuperating from surgery #4 and being laid up, yet again, I had A LOT of time to spend in God's Word (partially because I couldn't "Do" much of anything else). I have to tell you that this time spent reading, meditating on, writing down, and praying God's Word began to speak volumes into my heart.
There was a closeness and presence with the Lord that I have never really felt before.
Each morning I couldn't wait to dive into His Word to see what He had for me that day.
I could relate to the deer panting for the living water....the more I drank, the more I craved.
The verse in 1 Samuel 3:9 kind of summarizes what I was experiencing. Much like Samuel, who heard the Lord's voice in his sleep, I responded:
"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
That was it...I knew what I was called to be and what I wanted to be when I grew up....a professional listener.
Think about it...wouldn't it be great - the next dinner party or back yard BBQ you attend and someone asks you, "So, what do you do?" And, you respond, "I'm a professional listener." Wait for it....dead silence.
Crazy as it sounds, that's what I want to say.
Every other "profession" I've named is a passing profession. Even mothering is a profession designed for eventually letting go.
But, what stays? What remains? What is something I can do and never grow out of or get tired of? Sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting His words speak directly into my heart so that I may bask in His presence, be in relationship with Him, and know, without a doubt, that I was made and designed to be fully loved by Him. There is truly nothing in the world that can beat this.
Wow, it kind of makes my desire to someday write a book, pale in comparison. There's no title I could put behind my name on a business card that could ever compare with "listener".
Admittedly, most titles are somehow wrapped up in "pride" and "self". Listening is the only profession I can think of that is truly selfless.
God's Word gives life. When I read it, meditate on it, pray it, write it down, and share it....I am bringing forth life. Life for me and life for others.
But, before I "Do" something with it, I first have to be willing to listen.
Before I write it for others, I have to listen to it for me.
I know what I want to be when I grow up....a professional listener.
Beverly Rihtarchik, Professional Listener, LPL (licensed professional listener)....you have to have a designation acronym.
"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening....."
I'll let you know how it goes when I share that at the next gathering I attend and I'm asked, "So, what do you do?"
What about you...what do you want to be when you grow up? What is it that gets your juices flowing? Have you been searching to "be" something when what God wants you to be is right under your nose? I invite you to take a moment and ask God what He wants of you....what is He saying?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with me as I seek and search and strive to "Be" something impressive. Help me to understand that the best thing I can be is your disciple - to sit at your feet and listen to your words that speak directly to my heart. Let this be my greatest desire. Enable me to set aside my prideful desires and seek what you would have me to do for the glory of your Kingdom. Thank you for loving me so much that you simply want to be in relationship with me and spend time with me. Give me the desire to never want to stop listening. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Beverly Rihtarchik, Professional Listener, LPL