No, today is NOT my birthday. I’ve tried to stop having them, but my family insists. Aging is something I have always dreaded and desperately wished I could avoid. For much of my life, I never had a very hopeful image of an abundant life as an older person. I was too busy struggling with finding joy in everyday living, and I felt sure at times that there was no joy in the future.
As I watched my friends and family get older, I began to see people who were doing so gracefully (my husband being the most inspiring to me). These people helped me see that aging can be fun and blessed, especially when it is grace-filled. So, in an effort to tackle aging head on by taking what control I can, I decided to be more deliberate and intentional about how I lived my life. If I have to get older anyway, I might as well do so making the most of every opportunity that comes my way in the process.
I also realized one day that the only other option besides aging was simply not one I was ready to face yet. I mean, I want to see Jesus face-to-face one day, but I don’t think it’s quite time for that to happen. At that point, I found a determination to not only age gracefully but to also embrace aging and make it an inspiring process that my kids and others will look forward to in their own lives.
During my times in prayer (and during times whining to God about getting older), I felt a growing desire to make a determined effort for the second half of my life to be more fulfilling that the first half. I want to get to know my God more than ever before, and I want my relationship with Him to be reflected in the way that I live my life. Within that main focus, I felt like I needed to get outside of my comfort zone more often. I am a very private person and generally don’t share a lot of details about what I am experiencing and struggling with to many people, if anyone at all. The Holy Spirit has gently led me to a place where I realized that hiding all of myself from others made what I experienced and learned almost pointless. God gives us experiences and struggles in life often to help us relate to others and to help them through similar struggles and experiences. I was devaluing the work God was doing in my life by not sharing it with others. As a result, I am now making a deliberate effort to share how God has worked and continues to work in my life. If someone is inspired by this, then that is an extra blessing from the process.
As I purpose live out the year that will go down as the 12th anniversary of my 29th birthday, I pray that I will follow the Holy Spirit’s lead down the path that is the will of God for my life. God has given me many interests that bring me joy and happiness in life, and He is encouraging me to share those with as many people as possible. Thank You Lord for this wonderful work you are doing in my life. May it bring glory to You!
So, instead of creating my usual Resolutions Quick List this year, I am instead focusing on my “40 by 40 Bucket List.” I realize this only takes me through almost the end of August 2012, but I’m sure I’ll find more goals with which to finish out 2012. As I focus on these goals, my hope is that I will be aging gracefully and growing closer to Christ at the same time.