Updated: Feb 10
Most people are familiar with the rule in Chess that states should a Pawn reach the opponent's utmost side of the board, that pawn has earned the title, the power of a Queen piece.
Pretty cool, yeah?
This idea that after a perilous quest past obstacles and other pieces, the pawn can become something more.
In the real world, that might be one of the best illustrations for what I saw going from teenager to adult would be like. It would be like getting to the other side. It would be an immediate replacement of weakness and limitations for power next to infinite on the board.
Boy, was that ever a fantasy!
But I will say, reaching the "other side" has come with a revelation or two (even though it still feels like I know next to nothing), and this is one of them.
The journey isn't meant to be a means of earning some new power, rather it's intent was to reveal the authority of your birthright as a Son or Daughter.
Kings' and Queens' destinies are no different when they're in infant form; they only grow into the role they were born to play.
Last summer, I took up nannying full time. It was fun and memorable. It felt like I worked that job longer than a few months; like I had known those kids forever.
One day, after dropping the young girl off for summer camp, I made a Harris Teeter run for the family.
You learn with a job like nannying to find the little things that make you happy and get/do them to keep yourself content and sane.
This particular day, that thing was sunflowers.
"They're beautiful, aren't they?" the clerk lady said.
"Yeah," I said. My eyes drifted, and my heart followed.
"How much is the baby's breath?" I asked.
"$3.99," she answered."
"I can't resist," I said.
Head high, flowers in the crook of my arm, grocery bag swaying by my side, I sashayed across the parking lot. I felt like a freshly tended garden, like a hot chocolate-chip cookie, like a high-flying kite.
An elderly man was walking towards the entrance as I was exiting.
"You look like a queen," he said.
It warmed my heart so much. Was that the first time someone called me a queen?
"Thank you!" I said and flashed a pearly smile just for him.
When I got back to the house where I worked, I found a crystal vase, put the plant food in some water, cut the stems at acute angles, and arranged my sunflowers and baby's breath in the most aesthetically pleasing manner.
Looking at them, I felt so happy.
"You should leave them here so the family can be that happy," Holy Spirit whispered.
"What?" I thought. "These are my flowers! I love them!"
But the more I thought about it, the more giving them to the family seemed like what I wanted to do. And so I did.
"And that's what love is," Holy Spirit said.
"What do you mean?" I thought.
"No greater love than this," Holy Spirit reminded me, "than to lay down your life."
Which I interpreted to mean something along these lines.
When you give something away that was fully yours, when you give away something that gave you life to give life to someone else, that's love. That's laying down your life.
I guess it's the first time I had ever looked at love or that verse that way.
"And that's what makes you a queen," Holy Spirit whispered to my heart.
We step into our identities as part of the heavenly monarchy when we put other above and before ourselves.
Paul tells the church in Phillipi, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves," (Philippians 2:3, ESV).
Romans 8:19 says, "For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are," (ESV).
I think creation is crying out for us to manifest our royalty in our daily living.
I think royal blood, the blood of Jesus, runs through the veins of all He has chosen (because He chose us first). Creation is waiting for us to choose Him back.
Recently, I was talking to a fellow artist. He was telling me about his dry spell, and we got on the topic of inspiration and getting him back in his groove. He made a suggestion as a joke which I took literally.
"Was joking," he said, "but kinda feel obligated now."
"Never feel obligated!" I said. "Rule number one of being an artist."
"Smart," he said. "That should go for all things."
I said, "Totally. That's why being an artist isn't confined to just art itself—it bleeds into everything."
We've been loved by Him.
Love is not just something we do. That's who we are. Loved.
All that's left is for us to love just like we are who we are.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," Jesus said when asked the highest moral priority. "This is the great and first commandment," He said. "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets," (Matthew 22:37-40).
Those commands can both only be fulfilled from a place of being: being in relationship.
So often, we live from this accomplishment-hungry posture without even knowing it. The American dream turns into the American drama where we're defined by what positions we have, what promotion we've earned, what kind of salary we bring in.
But what if we stopped looking at life like do this and do that and went back to the questions everyone asked us when we were kids:
"What do you want to be?"
Everything is complete in that. It's all summed up in identity.
It's all summed up in this: we are loved.