I opened the beautiful card from my husband, the giant typeface looming across the front.
I am not ready to be 30.
While such a mile marker is not always welcomed by (oftentimes) surprised recipients, it certainly provides many with an opportunity to pause and reflect on life.
For starters, this aging process helps to put things in perspective. As I say “Aloha” to my 20’s, I’ve come to the astute realization that I cannot, in fact, be whoever I want to be. (Why does our culture make such vain promises?!) I am an average individual, finite in skills and available resources. 30 is here, and it has allowed me to step back and realize the limitations of my humanity. Alas, there is no Olympic gold in store for this wannabe figure skater.
Seeing my limited nature has forced me to answer the question, “Is that OK? Do I still matter, though I haven’t achieved seemingly ‘great’ things?”
The answer depends entirely upon my worldview, upon where I go for my source of truth. Being convinced of the validity of God and His Word, I find the answer I’m looking for within the pages of this Holy Book. And the answer is, comfortingly enough, a resounding yes! My value as a human being is not attached to my achievements, but to His (Psalm 8:3-6).
In her book Made for More, Hannah Anderson expounds upon this biblical truth in beautiful detail:
…no matter how small we may feel – no matter how small we actually may be – we are not insignificant. We do matter. But it’s not because of anything we’ve done; it’s because of something God did back at the beginning. Because back when God created all this beauty, all this life, all this splendor, He capped it off with one final masterpiece – one that He did not leave to words alone. No, for this final masterpiece, He stooped down and left His own fingerprints in the dust.
And that final masterpiece was us.
Because God made me in His own image, I matter (Genesis 1:27).
I matter so much to Him that, when my sin left a cavern as deep as it was wide between myself and my Creator, He did not leave me to my own hopelessness. He sought me out and purchased me with His blood (Ephesians 2:1-9). I am His.
Because of this – because of Him – my life is not just one of great value, but also one of purpose. Of hope, and joy, and peace, and life (Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:10).
These realities have given me a framework to base my life upon. God has given me my purpose, which is to reflect Him. And He’s given me the power to carry it out through Christ.
These truths have allowed me a precious gift as I turn the corner of my 30th year. Knowing that my worth is rooted in God’s act of creating me, and knowing Christ as my righteousness; I have the freedom to think about my life thus far and realistically gauge where I’m at with where I want to be.
Have I accomplished, or begun working toward, the things that I am gifted in & passionate about?
Am I running a good race of faith – faith that is rooted in the person and work of Christ (2 Timothy 4:7)?
Am I living out the purpose God has for me – to love Him and others and to share the good news of Christ with those around me as I have opportunity?
The beautiful thing about answering these questions is two-fold. First, I am able to see the changes God has made in me up to this point. By His grace, I’m not who I once was. That is a beautiful thing, indeed!
But I also have a long way to go. So secondly, I have the freedom to see the areas of my life that still need growth without being crushed by my failures. I’m not perfect, and there are things to work on. And that is OK. In fact, it’s completely normal. This process by which God shapes me more and more into the likeness of my Savior takes a lifetime. There’s work left to do!
Along with this reflection on how I’ve been living out my purpose is this great desire to simply enjoy this beautiful life God has given me, and to do so with the people I love. I want to gather them from their places of living and bring them close. I want to make more memories with them, to connect with them face-to-face. I long to know them dearly, to love and cherish them.
This intense yearning would be met with great sorrow, were it not for the truth of God’s Word that gives me hope. Again, as I turn the pages of Scripture, I find that Christ has secured something eternal for me. Because of His work, He has made a home for me. One day, He will call me there to be with him.
And my loves, the ones who are scattered, they will be close to me; never again to be separated. We will gather around the Source of life – Jesus Christ – praising Him and enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him and our fellow man forever and ever.
This brings an urgency. Time is short. Eternity hangs in the balance. Christ is the answer, and not everyone knows Him.
The question I must now answer is, “What will I do with the time that has been given me?” Though it may cost me all I have, will I use the time I have been given to proclaim this good news of great joy which is for all people?
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” -Revelation 21:3 & 4
What are your thoughts about getting older? Where do you find your sense of purpose and source of identity? What are some good changes that have come with age?