Much has happened during this time, giving me an opportunity for perspective. I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I am now in my life, and where I want to go. What defines me? Who am I really? What is important? What investment am I contributing to God's kingdom?
My son reminded me (as if I could forget) that this year is a BIG one! I turn 40 this year. Most who know me, getting older doesn't bother me, it was being young. Often, when people would ask how old I was, their response was that I was such a baby. So young. It always felt like I didn't get credit for all that I have walked through in life. Or maybe it reminded me of things I regret.
I hate that. Many in my age group have young kids still. My oldest is a Sophomore in college, and my youngest will graduate from high school in 4 years. Hubby and I are making plans for when we are "empty nesters." I may not have much gray hair, but I have earned the battle scars from life to not be called a baby. At least now, when people ask I can simply say I am in my 40's. Ha!
As my birthday approaches, I am finding that my outlook on what matters and what doesn't is changing. There are places in my past that I have allowed to define me. I find myself thinking alot about words and actions of others, even as a child, and how I let that determine what my worth was. What I could be in life. The way God sees me was always filtered through those things. I was never enough. I have to earn being loved. Why?! The only purpose that served was to allow my view to be clouded. It wasn't truth. It was/is living in fear of failing and disappointing others.
I had a friend say once that being in your 40s you finally stop caring so much about what people think. We stop being ruled by their control and fear. And I can say, that I think there is a lot of relief in that statement. Truth even. As much as I hated being "young," I am discovering now how freeing it is to finally put to bed the hold others have on me. I have known that was true for a long time, but grief can keep you from doing it.
A precious conversation recently pulled this thought full circle for me. Even though this has been something that I have wrestled with so many times throughout my life, something profound stuck out. Some of the reasons we hang on so tightly to what others think/say, is that without that pain, we don't know who we are. It is scary. While the intellectual in us knows that we have to let go of what we can't change, the child in us is crying out and still hoping it will. What kind of power do I want to let my past have over me? I don't have to let it define who I am anymore. I can chose to stop letting it have power over me.
The tangible memories designed to remind of failure, of that past, they will no longer have power over me. There isn't any reason to keep them. I will burn it. No more chains. Regrets, hurts, all of it. I won't let it control me anymore. I refuse. IT'S TIME TO REBUILD!
It doesn't mean that it never happened. It simply means that I will not let it be the filter for who I am. Who am I in Christ. (2 Cor 5:16-17) God doesn't think of me as who my past says I am. God doesn't feel the way my past does. (Isaiah 43) He will take the ashes from those places in my life and make it beautiful! Not because I deserve it, but because HE LOVES ME! I am worth the gift He gave through the death of His Son. (Romans 5:8-10) I am worth pursuing a relationship with. I am worth an adoption to His family, to be a part of His kingdom as His Daughter. (Romans8:16-17) A place at the table.
What do I do now? That is the best part. This year is a BIG one, but not just because I am turning 40. I have a chance to discover. What do I want to be when I grow up? What purpose has God given me to invest in His kingdom? I can wrestle now with a better view of eternity. To fuss over what truly matters for the sake of Christ, and what doesn't for the sake of preference.
It isn't because I am turning 40 (which I am excited about!!!), I suddenly believe. It is something better. I think God's time was just that He allowed enough to happen for me to finally want to put it all down. It will not be wasted, and He has purpose in the battle scars. But the grip it has had in my life is finally loose. I can allow tears sometimes, but I don't have to stay there. It isn't what I am. For me, maybe turning 40 is just a marker for when I can look back. It will be the defining moment...
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”