Leaving a Legacy

As a mom of three little ones, it’s probably safe to say that approximately 85% of my TV-viewing consists of cartoons. One show that my daughter particularly likes is Sofia the First. If you’re not familiar with Princess Sofia, let me introduce you…

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Sofia is a young village girl who became a princess overnight. From the theme song, we learn that she and her mother were commoners living in the village when her mother met the king, got married, and became part of the royal family. Part of Sofia’s journey is learning how to adjust to her new life as a princess.

One morning while in the kitchen, I overheard a conversation between Sofia and another little girl named Lucinda that caught my attention. Lucinda is known as a trouble-maker. She play tricks (aka “hexes”) on the other kids in the village. As a result, Lucinda is an outsider. Lucinda learns about a birthday party that all of the children in the village are invited to attend, except for her. Sofia wants to protect her friend’s birthday party from being ruined, so she decides to have a talk with Lucinda.

Sofia: “If you want friends, why do you act so mean?”

Lucinda: “I don’t know how else to act.”

Sofia: “WHAT?”

Lucinda: “Hexing is all I know how to do. My parents are witches. My grandparents are witches. My great-grandparents are witches…”

[This is when my ears perked up. Inspiration jump out at me from the most unlikely places. Bear with me…]

Lucinda’s response sounded strangely familiar.  Her excuse sounded like the kind of excuse I am tempted to make when I stumble and fall; when I let down my guard and revert back to my old ways of thinking and reacting. When my words and actions towards the people whom are closest to me are unintentionally unkind or brash, my first reaction is not to apologize, but to make an excuse….”I’m tired…I can’t help it. That’s just my personality.” 

Each one of us comes from a unique background of learned behaviors — ways of interacting, responding to, and reacting towards life and people. Some of the things we picked up along the way are good and some of the things we picked up along the way are not so good.

At some point, we all have to become big boys and girls and decide what kind of legacy we want to leave. We must sort through the stuff that we’ve experienced and choose what we want to pass on to the next generation and what we’d rather leave behind. This requires change and change requires being intentional because habits are hard to break.

Unlearning an undesirable behavior requires us to wake up from a comfortable state of automaticity and, instead, pursue a different way. To openly pursue a new way require us to learn how to walk in a new way. Like a toddler learning how to walk for the first time, we must regain our balance, take baby steps, stumble, and maybe even bust a lip.

Like Lucinda, we feel like we don’t know how else to act.

We are creatures of habit. Our minds want to do one thing, yet our bodies do another. It’s the reason some of us get defensive, withdraw, or blow up instead of engage,  listen, and communicate. It’s the reason some of us are blind to our own selfish ways and fail miserably at putting someone else’s feelings in front of our own. Our flesh too often steers us in the wrong direction.

Real change requires something much bigger. True transformation requires someone much bigger. God’s power working in and through you has the power to make you a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Recognizing that you need to change and admitting that you can’t change on your own is the first step. Surrendering control of your life to a sovereign God and giving him all access to the most broken and damaged parts of your heart is the next step. Both will bring new life and restoration to your soul.

So the question you have to ask yourself is do you want to stay stuck where you are and pass on a legacy of insecurity, over-indulgence, infidelity, selfishness, anger, un-forgiveness, etc…? Or will you invite God to begin a transforming work in you, so that you may leave a very different legacy – one that honors God?

 

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