So today is my birthday. I turned 31. To be honest I don't really mind. Once you pass 30 the years get easier to swallow. It really isn't that bad being in my 30s anyway. It isn't bad at all.
When I was young and used to think about being in my 30s it felt SO far away. I would cruise around in my blue 81 El Camino feeling a lifetime from 30. I was sure that by the time I was 30 I'd be settled and secure. Settled meant married with kids and secure meant finally at peace with myself, not because I finally accepted my imperfections but because by the time I was 30 I had fixed them all.
I executed my genius plan of getting settled by marrying a Marine and moving 6 times in the first three and a half years of marriage and enduring two deployments (with more to come). And that inner security I was planning to cultivate, well it turns out that for every flaw I thought I had at 16 I really have two more, and this time they are actually real flaws. At 16 I wanted smaller thighs, now I want more integrity, discipline, selflessness, and conviction.
Now that I am in my 30s I laugh at myself at 16. My expectations bordered on crazy and turned out to be impossible. Here I sit at 31, no where close to over the hill. but more like suspended somewhere on the uphill slope holding on for dear life. I still have a ways to climb before I'm in the clear, if there even is a such thing.
So does that mean I am behind or that did I have it wrong from the start?
I am pretty sure I had it wrong from the start. One benefit of hindsight right?
I have a completely different perspective now. What I thought was up to me to accomplish with my own power and will, the life that I was going to carve out for myself, the person I was going to become, was never really within my ability in the first place. I over estimated myself and underestimated God. The life I had planned was much easier. But the one I have now is so much richer.
After 31 years I have not learned better life management skills or become more organized. I have not discovered tricks to successful living, mastered running my own life or being my own person.
What I have learned is how to let go.
I have learned to surrender my life, my dreams, my hopes and my plans to THE ONE who knows how to give me the life I need, the life that will make me less like the person I wanted to be at 16 and more like the person I want to be now, the person I need to be-more like Christ.
I can't say that I always enjoyed the process and I still have a lot of questions, but I value the fruit. I am hungrier now than I ever have been to be the woman God wants me to be so that I can live the life He wants me to live.
I don't want to do it all and have it all anymore. I only want to do and have what really matters. I don't want to be settled and secure. Self-sufficiency is overrated. I want to get better at letting God run my life, at surrendering, and at trusting. And if that means my life falls short of my expectations at 16, I am ok with that. What did I really know at 16 anyway? What do any of us know?
I will leave you with what has become my favorite Bible verse. I included two different translations. It really puts things in perspective.
2 Cor 6:3-10
3 We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit. 7 We have faithfully preached the truth. God's power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. NLT
2 Cor 6:3-10
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. NIV