A Tale of Two Kingdoms

MY kingdom come, my will be done:
I am defined by my statistics. I am a woman. A middle-aged woman. A white, middle-aged woman. A white, middle-aged, single woman. A white middle-aged, single, American woman.

These things are the core of who I am.

So, since I am a woman, I need to be beautiful as defined by my culture. Sexy. Alluring. Dressing provocatively. Constantly managing every part of my appearance.

Since I am a middle-aged woman, I need to keep all the signs of aging away. I must pull out all the stops to keep my body from showing the years it has lived.

Since I am a single woman, I must hunt for Mr. Right, manipulating my circumstances and the people around me so that I can achieve “happily ever after”.

Since I am an American woman, I must pick sides on all issues, preferably in line with those I love or those who look like me or those I socialize with regularly. I must scream and shout and stomp my feet to persuade others who don’t think as I do that they are wrong.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done:
My first and most vital definition of me is not who I am but Whose I am.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, The Way, The Truth and The Life.
I am forgiven, set free, and empowered to live a holy life.
I am a beautiful creation of The Most High God, designed and crafted by Him for specific purposes and good works that He has prepared in advance.
I am not a citizen of this world but a temporary traveler, simply passing through.

All other labels I wear – woman, white, single, American – are not filters for my life.
They are facts – but they are miniscule, virtually unimportant facts when stacked next to my identity in Christ.

And when I center my life on Whose I am, everything changes.
I still want to be beautiful. But I want to be more consumed with my inner beauty than my outer.
I still want to be married (well, sometimes) but I am more consumed by doing the will of God than finding some definition of happiness.
I still am a white American – things I had no choice over. But while those things inform my experience, they do not define me, my actions or my responses.

MY kingdom come, my will be done:
I am defined by my successes and failures.
A college degree means I am smart.
But the lack of a Master’s Degree means I am not quite smart enough.

The number on the scale or the number in the waist band of my jeans is the greatest measure of my success as a human being.
Followed closely by the number on my paycheck.

How many people know my name defines my success as an author.
And getting people to know my name drives everything I do.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done:
I want to do my best, I want “success”.
But not for my sake.
I want to do my best so that I can shine for the King.
And “success” is not defined by me. But it is defined by Him.
Not based on my feelings but on His Word.
Not based on your opinion, perceptions or thoughts but on His standard.
And definitely not measured by any degree, certificate, number or title.
I already bear the title of Beloved Princess, Daughter of the King of Kings.
And that is where I find my greatest success – in surrendering to Him.

MY kingdom come, my will be done:
I am impatient and unkind – even if it is only in my head. I’ll put on the fake smile and the fake nice words because it is expected.

I envy what you have, knowing I deserve it more than you. So I boast in what I do have to show that I am better than you.

I don’t seek to honor you, because if I honor you, I have to take a back seat.

I don’t value you so I am overly sensitive, touchy and easily offended. If you don’t see the world my way you are obviously an idiot at best and most likely completely evil.

Therefore, I must keep score. I must remember everything you have done to wrong me and I must make sure it never happens again.

When I see you fall, when I see you sin, I am secretly glad. That means that I am better than you.

And if I share a tidbit about you here or there that doesn’t quite tell the whole tale but makes me look better than you, so be it.

I will always protect me.
I will always trust me.
I will always put my hope in me.
And I will throw away any relationship that doesn’t make me happy.

Because, obviously, I need to look after me.
If I don’t, who will?
I need to manage it all.
My looks, my reputation, even my personality.
Not to mention my money and my stuff.
If I step on you to get ahead, too bad. You should have gotten out of my way.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done:
“Love endures with patience and serenity,
love is kind and thoughtful,
and is not jealous or envious;
love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.
It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered];
it does not take into account a wrong endured.
It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes],
believes all things [looking for the best in each one],
hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times],
endures all things [without weakening]. (I Corinthians 13)”

Whose kingdom shall I live for?
Which one works best?
Which one leads to the best outcomes?
My will?
Or His?
What about you?
Which Kingdom? The choice is yours.

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