Monday, May 4, 2015

30: A New Chapter


I had thought about May 3, 2015 since I was a kid, knowing that it was the date I would turn 30. It seemed so far away, and now it's here. I wondered what I would be like, what I would feel, where I would be...
My original plan for crossing the 30th birthday milestone was Las Vegas and Britney Spears, naturally.
But with family circumstances like toddlers and pregnancies, that idea was crossed off the list.
To be honest, I pouted a little bit.
What does all the above have in common? Me, me, me, me.

God has been working in my heart and my life in a major way this year. Some of that work has been bringing areas of weakness to light.
I'll just be really honest, I have been prideful, judgmental, closed off, unavailable, distant, and self-obsessed.
So this year, I felt it on my heart to not be self-focused on my birthday. To give my gifts away, to put others first, to remember and celebrate what God has done these past 30 years.
It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. There were several things that came up disrupting the limited plans we had made as a couple/family and I felt indignation rise up until I remembered this year's commitment.
The major thing I did was make a Lifemap. (I was given the instructions at a breakout session at the Bayside Women's Conference given by Dr. Judy Ten Elshof from Biola University's Talbot School of Theology.) For the past few weeks I wrote every major life event, significant person, and circumstance onto post-its and arranged them into chapters of life. The negative events were given a different color, yellow. Today I went through the phases of ministry revealed, lessons learned, life values exhibited, and wrote a mission statement.
It is amazing to see the way God shapes and crafts our lives through experiences, setbacks, pain, and the influence of others. I was told to pay attention to pain because that's usually where a transition to something new takes place. Ironically, it was mostly the yellow post-its that jumped out to me, that had the most poignant lessons and, in retrospect, I am most grateful for.
Thank you Jesus for closing doors, for teaching me love and compassion through pain, for brutal truth, for empathy through experience, for painful experiences with others that taught me that only YOU can sustain and save me and that expectations should be replaced by grace.
And thank you to the people and friends who were truth tellers in my life, even if it was just one small conversation. If you don't have people that love you enough to tell you the truth about yourself, find them.
While the first 30 years of my life were about me, I want the rest of my life to be about God and loving others.
Life is too short and becomes meaningless the more we make it about ourselves.


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