I wanted to be Japanese when I grew up

Dear Elle,

Every child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My response would usually cause a smile and then an attempt to correct my faulty thinking by the curious adult who posed the question. “I want to be Japanese.” It didn’t matter that I was a blond-haired, green-eyed four year old, I had been told that America was the land of opportunity, a person could be anything they wanted to be; and I wanted to be Japanese!

If you want to know who you are and who God created you to be, pay attention to your childhood dreams and the worlds you invented and inhabited in your childlike imagination. They hold the secret of the you you long to be. God named you, formed you and consecrated you before you were even conceived. You have been imagined by God and created to live in the exact time and place, country and family in which you find yourself. You and your life are not an accident that is correctable by God’s grace. You and your life are potentially exactly what God had in mind.

You were born to carry a particular piece of God’s heart into the world and as an uninhibited child you lived this mission out in your play and your imagination. I wanted to be Japanese… My mom even made me a Japanese outfit that I would wear as I served tea and bowed to the roses in our garden. In my little girl mind Japanese ladies were so pretty, quiet, demure, and serving.  This ambition of mine was left behind as I matured. Family and school taught me that success was measured in the amount of attention I was paid by others, so I would do whatever it took to gain the notice of those in power. I wasn’t the smartest or the prettiest, so I became the loudest and most talkative. Goodbye quiet and demure, hello “motormouth” (as I was dubbed by my high school teachers).

Losing touch with the Japanese lady inside me caused me to lose touch with the me God had created me to be. I know this because of the misery I experienced in relationships and the disdain I had for myself. Pay attention to your current life situation. If you are more often unhappy or unsettled than peaceful and at rest, perhaps you’ve lost connection with the embedded God-image that is yours alone to express.

When God first thought of you, he assigned you a particular temperament, a unique set of talents and gifts, a distinctive personality and energy level, and a range of emotional reactions. You are unrepeatable and important to God’s plan for bringing out the “God colors” of the world in which you live.

With you in the journey,


7 thoughts on “I wanted to be Japanese when I grew up

  1. Wow, Debby this is so insightful. I’m in a very troubled place and in need of this guidance. Thank you for this pondering. I must find my quiet place and go back in time…thank you.

  2. This is so beautifully encouraging – and particularly here in this morning, facing a day of somewhat emotionally taxing work. This regrounds me in why I’m doing what I’m doing and reminds me that God affirms what I might call my “crazy bits” that I might otherwise try to tone down. Thank you so much.

  3. Thanks for your encouraging words, Debby. I especially like the last sentence. “You are unrepeatable and important to God’s plan for bringing out the “God colors” of the world in which you live.” It’s a reminder that the purpose of my life is to be the hands and feet of God so that HE (not I) will be glorified. When His plan is my plan, the world becomes a more beautiful, lovely, colorful place. Much love to you.

  4. Pingback: What is your pentecost experience? Fire or whisper? – The Mentored Life

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