I recently celebrated my 39th birthday. And yes, I celebrated. I have loved my 30s so much, but I feel perfectly in sync with the end of one era and the beginning of another.
The way I see it, or rather, the way I’ve lived it, the 20s are really kind of about making stupid mistakes and figuring out what we’re not supposed to be. Our 30s are very much about figuring out exactly who we are, some through trial and error, some through the building of our families, careers, ministries, and our own identities.
In my 40s, I am looking forward to taking all of the wisdom and all of the confidence that comes from having an identity and applying it to everything… family, faith, relationships, life … this is when it becomes mine… not the one I’m striving for, not the one I see in the movies, not the one someone else has that seems so much better than mine, but mine!
One of the greatest lessons of the last decade for me has been about perspective. The way we see things has a dangerous tendency to become our reality, when actually, it usually skews what really is. The fact is, “IT,” no matter what it is, is usually not about me. Yes, I’ve spent the last 10 years really learning that in every job and most ever relationship I have had. Now I’m trying to grasp that even when I tell myself, “This is an exception; this time must be about me,” it’s usually still not about me.
People – all of us – have stuff and things and issues and complications. When we only know a little bit of the tip of the iceberg that is another person, all we see are the decisions that they make and how they affect us, and we are often mistaking a situation as somehow reflecting on us. We are not good enough. We’re not wanted. We are not included. We are without something or someone.
What I am finding out is that sadly, most people feel this way at least part of the time. But if we could all just open up our hearts and be more transparent, how could we change this trend. What if you actually walked up to a person whose attention or connection you are craving and said, “You know what, I really feel like I’m watching the cool kids table most of the time instead of sitting at it. Will you come sit by me?” How many of us might find a true friendship that way? How many lonely hours or destructive thoughts would be replaced with productive conversations and happy new memories?
Growing up, no matter what decade it takes place in, has to mean that we get over ourselves. If we truly have faith in God to fulfill all of our needs, then we really don’t have to look to have our needs fulfilled by anything external… not people, not places, not things. If we truly believe that God is going to give us the desires of our hearts as we delight ourselves in Him, then that gives us all the freedom in the world to pour out our love, our energy, our time, our resources, on to other people… even if they never, ever return the favor!
In fact, we should be looking for people to bless you can’t ever possibly bless us back, because in spite of appearances, they’re the ones who need it the most!
As a new year is beginning, on the calendar and in my life, I feel a refreshing rush of confidence in following the Lord and His ways. He allows us to go through hurts and trials so that we can learn, so that our faith becomes stronger, so that we can walk the next phase of our journeys with a stronger step. What will you bring with you this year that you gained the last? Join me in thanking Him for those lessons today!