“When you walk across that graduation stage in a few years, what one word do you want people to describe you as? For what do you want to be known?”
This question was posed to me in a college scholarship interview over 20 years ago. As a naïve, 17-year-old high school senior, sitting in a room full of strangers at my now alma mater, Union University, this was something I had not given much thought to. I vividly remember (and cringe at) my vague answer. “I want people to remember me as someone who is nice. A person who is kind to everyone.”
Oh, how I wish I could go back and change that answer. Don’t get me wrong … it wasn’t a bad answer. It wasn’t even a wrong answer. But, I want to be known for so much more.
The graduation ceremonies are over for me. I now sit in the crowd admiring my kindergartener walking across the stage. I open my mailbox to find graduation announcements from friends with children receiving their diplomas. I look at Instagram photos of those I know finally realizing their dreams as they put those colorful hoods over their robes.
All of these things bring me back to that scholarship interview. At the end of it all, what do I want to be known for?
There are many things I want to be known as. A devoted wife. A loving mother. A faithful daughter. A successful writer. A dedicated friend. A fun aunt. An effective Sunday school teacher. A joy to be around. A hospitable neighbor.
All of these things are important to me. But more than these, the one greatest thing I want to be known for is being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. One who embodies the message of God’s faithfulness, grace, and mercy. One who exudes God’s love. One who radiates God's goodness. When I come to the end, I want people to say, “There is a girl who loved Jesus more than anything, and we knew it because she lived it out daily.”
I’ve learned a lot in the past 20 years. In fact, I think if my answer now would have been my answer then, I may have gotten just a little more scholarship money. But the truth is, it’s taken time to get to this point. This journey I am on is stretching me, teaching me, and leaving me yearning for more of Him each day.
What about you? What do you want to be known for when you “cross that stage?”