One evening, near the end of my son’s 7th grade school year, I was helping him proofread and edit his first official research paper. It was only 3 pages long, but was quite a feat for my son who prefers to complete a couple hours of science and math homework to a single paragraph of writing. I remember reading his first paragraph (you know, the one where you’re supposed to know what the rest of the paper is about by reading that special sentence included in this paragraph) and didn’t see any kind of map for the next two and a half pages. I asked him, “Where’s your thesis statement?” He looked at me, deflated and dumbfounded. “My what?” “You know, your thesis statement. The sentence that tells your purpose and what this is all going to be about….” There was still no sign of recognition in his tired eyes. Maybe his teacher had used a different term, but I sincerely hoped he hadn’t taught him to write a research paper without a purpose or plan. I took a deep breath and remained as patient as I could as I explained the importance and purpose of a thesis statement. We worked through it together and after a little rearranging and a some grammatical, spelling and punctuation corrections, he ended up with a really good paper. I was proud of him.
That teaching moment with him got me thinking…. How do we write our papers (live our lives) if we don’t know our thesis statement? I wonder sometimes about people who just live their lives, wandering aimlessly through, not knowing their purpose, understanding their potential, or even realizing their worth. I’ve thought about my beliefs, my knowledge, my values, my faith, my goals and dreams, and wondered, “what exactly is MY thesis statement?” I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think I’ve finally come up with something. I’m sure as the years pass and experiences and challenges come and go, it will evolve and grow into something different. But for now, it’s simply this:
I will live my life with purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ and trust Him to help me become more.
I know that seems a bit generic. Maybe even a bit too simplistic. But it leaves room for me to add in all the learning experiences, testimony-building moments and tidbits of inspiration I gather throughout my daily life.
In my interactions with people, no matter who they are, what they look like, or how they treat me, I can remember that they too, are children of God and I can follow Christ’s example in serving and loving them.
Through my struggles, my Thesis Statement can help me remember that I have a purpose, that I matter to a lot of people (most especially to God), and that every little choice in my life is a gift, and it matters. Life is good. I can be the good for someone else.
It will help me find ways to work through the hard times, and become more than I was before. It can help me trust my faith in God and His Son to pull me through instead of waiting it out in fear. I know that through the Lord, all things are possible. He can make my weaknesses strong. He can replace darkness with light. He can take my hand and help me feel loved when I’m all alone.
Trusting Jesus Christ means that I can believe Him when he tells me I can repent and become clean, that I truly can. I can be forgiven. Made whole. Start fresh. Clean and pure.
If He can do all of that, He can help me become all that He knows I can be–all that I’m meant to be. I am a daughter of God, and His plan includes my Eternal Glory. I can’t think of a better plan than that. Trusting and following my Savior will get me there.