Yesterday was my 48th birthday. It was kind of an ordinary day in many ways, happy and pleasant – and a bit contemplative as well.
I found this picture of myself at 18 years of age. 18…whew, I knew it all back then! I’m sure this picture was probably snapped before I went to school that day.
In looking back, I can honestly say there is nothing I would change. Truly. Without a doubt, I am certain that I would not be who I am today without the valleys and controversies of my past 30 years. It makes me curious to think that on the day of this picture, God might have looked ahead and thought, “Is she prepared for the life that lays ahead of her?” then I wonder how he answered his own question. It must have included the thought, ‘then I will prepare her the best that I can.’
At 48, I feel immensely blessed. I am living at an interesting time. I feel like I am moving into a reflective time; not necessarily a starting up time. I certainly don’t mean to imply I am finished and need to sit in a rocking chair and reflect back on my life. No! I have many more miles to travel and people to meet.
But there are changes.
I am a different candidate when seeking a new job.
I am a different clothes and apparel consumer.
Make-up is geared differently for me.
Transitions take a few minutes longer for me to react to.
I do believe, however, that I feel things deeper. I take longer to savor situations and people and experiences. I let them settle down into my soul before moving on to the next leg of the journey.
“My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6-7 The Message
There are patterns of thought which have been developed over the last few decades. There are some I would like to eradicate or at the very least make significant adjustments to them. Yet there are many for which I am thankful as well. I am entering an age and time in which I know what I know. I know the things I do really well. I know the things that I should always seek counsel on since they are not my strength or forte’.
I am…achem…a worrier. I am. I obsess. I over-analyze. I do pros and cons lists in my sleep and can tell you the worst case scenario far quicker than I can just ‘roll with it’.
Because of this I have been lingering around two words recently: trust and thanksgiving. Trust is difficult for many of us. And you know what? I have reason to distrust trust. Life has knocked me hard in ways that have raised the bar on my trust meter. But even though I have reason and can argue and justify those reasons, God doesn’t care. He says ‘trust me.’ I say ‘but here are the reasons I have trouble with that’ and he says, ‘yes, I understand. But trust me anyway.’
And thanksgiving. I know I have trouble trusting, but when thanksgiving was brought before me, I was a little surprised to see that I had trouble with that one as well. I’m pretty good at sending thank you notes to people – for the big things and for the little things. I thank my husband, Scott, quite often for loving me and for how he loves me.
Yet I don’t do a very good job of thanking God for working that out. Or bringing that person into my path. Or acknowledging that the ‘accidental’ thing that just happened was not coincidental, but a very God-directed and purposeful outcome. I need to remember to give props to God. I need to change that thought pattern.
I recently read, ‘Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thought patterns of trust become etched into your brain. Relegate troubles to the periphery of your mind, so that God can be central in your thoughts.’
Trust and Thanksgiving – those are the words running through my mind this 48th birthday. Changing the patterns and rhythms of how I think. My husband happens to be very good at both. I’m hoping some of that rubs off on me.
I was a happy 18 year old.
I am a happy 48 year old.
I am still surrounded by people who love me and care for me. I still enjoy creativity in various forms. I still believe that God desires to hang out with me on a daily basis – hanging together and talking.
I like 48. I’m curious about what the year will unfold. I am confident it will include mountains and valleys, confusion and certainty. I pray that I am malleable enough to bend and break where necessary; stay solid and true where needed.
It’s been 30 years since I left high school.
And I am learning more now than ever before.