On Turning 30
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I hope you permit me to reminisce a little. Tonight the clock will turn over to 12:00 AM- Wednesday will greet Thursday, and not much will seem changed. As silly as it seems to favor birthdays ending in 0 over any other birth year- I still think taking time to pause and reflect is often helpful and even needed.
When I look at my almost thirty-year-old self, to be honest, I see my thirteen-year-old self. I’m awkward, unsure, and you better believe I still belt out a Celine Dion power ballade while dressing in the morning. I dance around the room, occasionally feel inferior to people older than me, and I still hope I make my parents proud.
When I look at this almost thirty-year-old self, I also see a stranger. There are scars that didn’t used to be there, and memories that won’t ever be erased. There are stretch marks, a few more wrinkles, and yes, two gray hairs that wink at me in every mirror I pass.
Even while some changes are harder to accept, this other person I see? I wouldn’t trade her for any set of chiseled abs or baby-soft skin (not that I ever had those abs in the first place).
This almost-thirty-year-old has learned how it feels to relinquish her plans to God’s better plan. She’s learned the faithfulness of God while walking through a season of deep pain. And she’s thankfully gotten over that angry/jealous college girl phase (sorry again, roomies!). Her understanding of the redemption story has only grown, and she looks on her Savior with a greater sweetness. She longs for heaven and God’s just reign in a deeper way than ever before.
Do I say these things to say I’ve mastered it all? No! In fact the years have shown even more idols buried deep in my heart; Habits I long to make better, selfishness exposed in different phases of life, and pride that has blinded me to so much growth and change.
Maybe this seems discouraging. Why rejoice in how we’ve changed when God just continues to expose more things to change?
I find hope in one of my favorite verses-
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6”
What an assurance for our souls- God will bring his good work to completion in us. How can we be confident this applies to us, that he will carry us to the end? Because we can look back and see where he already began it. He initiated it on the cross- as we accept the full grace he offers, and it is he who works the fruit of good work in our lives from there on after.
This is why I can’t scoff as the time passes or another birthday rolls around- because it is another chance to stop and remind myself of the work God began in me- and another chance to hope, to shout, and to dance because he will carry it on to completion. I’m so grateful for how God has taught me his sovereignty, his grace, his faithfulness- but even more so I rejoice to know that he will not stop teaching me! As much as I wonder in my Savior and long to see his face as an almost-thirty-year-old- how much more will I as an almost 40, 50, or 60-year-old? As I rejoice in God’s faithfulness today, how much more evidence will I have ten years from now of his patient and faithful work? These thoughts make me want to shout, “bring on the birthdays!!”
Whether you’re approaching a birthday or not, pausing to reflect on God’s good work is always a good idea. How has he shown you more of himself? How has he formed your character closer to his? Oh and take that time to celebrate friends-because he is not finished yet! Let’s rejoice at whatever age we may be and rest confidently in the good work of our Lord through each season, year, and decade he brings.