Thoughts on Turning Thirty.

11:27 AM

   There are moments I feel the need to check my driver's license because I still can not even believe that in a few short days I will be hitting that big 3-0 milestone.  Which is just slightly terrifying as I can distinctly remember being a child and thinking that by the time I got to celebrate my golden birthday I would be such an OLD LADY.

  But aside from the obvious shock of exiting my twenties, I think what has surprised me the most about being on the brink of my 30's is how far I feel from where I always assumed 30-something women to be. I assumed that Women In Their Thirties Had:

Everything all figured out.
The ability to perfectly balance marriage, motherhood, housewifery, and all of its many demands.
Nice hair and nails.  At all times.
Total security and confidence in their identity in Christ.
The privilege of watching all of their wildest dreams, goals and ambitions coming true.

   And at times that all feels completely foreign to me still.  I find myself still thinking of myself as a "new mom" but when does that change?  I have a 4 I allowed to think that until they are 14?  No?  So when's the cut-off?  Yet in some other ways, I feel incredibly close to what I had imagined it would be.  The whole "paying a mortgage and having babies and looking for vehicles with a 3rd row of seats"?  Ditto. That slipping into a stage of comfort with each other and deep trust and love in our marriage while completely different than our dating and giddy and honeymooning stage?  Yes. I do feel 30.

   And so in some ways this milestone is looking much like what I expected, and nothing like what I expected, all at the very same time.  I had hoped that by the time I bid my 20s farewell, I would be leaving all of the drama and insecurity and comparison and jealousy and ridiculousness of my teens and twenties far, far behind me as well.  All of the emotional turmoil and anxiety nonsense I drag myself through on a consistent basis would be but a faint and distant memory, as I breezed through my 30s in killer shoes and perfect hair and perfectly obedient children in tow, all looking like they had stepped off the pages of a Crew cuts catalog.


   It all seems so laughable now, the notion that merely flipping calendar pages would magically turn me into who I hope to be.  Growing older doesn't automatically grant you maturity, or gift you wisdom.  Unfortunately.  Growing older just guarantees that your body will change, brown hair will turn grey and smooth skin will wrinkle.  That's it. 

   Growing older happens in our sleep, with nothing required from us at all. But the only way to GROW, is if we learn from our mistakes, apply God's Word to our lives and desperately beg for wisdom at the feet of Jesus.  We have to turn to Him.  Daily.  We have to seek for our approval and acceptance and identity in Him.  Because as much as we chalk up to "teen angst" really has nothing to do with our age.  It won't magically go away just because we've entered our 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s.  It takes more than that.  It takes deliberate action to apply our life experiences and the written Word to our quest for wisdom.

   It takes deliberate choices.  Some big, some small, some that fall in between.  But always, constantly, DAILY there are choices facing us that have the opportunity to mold, shape and refine us into who we want to be.  Growing older in and of itself does not have the power to do that.

   I don't remember fiercely battling insecurity and identity in my teens to the degree that I faced it in my 20s.  Did I have my moments and days of it? Sure.  But it wasn't the degree of intensity in my teens that it escalated to in my 20s.  I got married and I moved and I had kids and the changes came fast and hot and heavy and left me turned upside down and inside out until I felt like I hardly knew who I was anymore.

   I compared myself to women that I thought seemed to have achieved perfection and I felt I just constantly fell short.  I sought approval and acceptance more fiercely than I ever had before, desperate to find my place in the world.  A place that I truly belonged.  And to some extent, it seemed I never would.  That to some, I would never be quite good enough.  I would never totally, truly belong.

   And all the while, I battled fear and insecurity and jealousy while no one would have ever been the wiser.  I was confidant and outgoing and made friends easily, and I'm sure it was quite believable that I never felt alone.  But things are not always as they appear, as I have come to realize time and time again.  I have faced some of my darkest days while I'm sure some assume I have sailed through life without a care in the world.

   But I am happy to report, that I am actually looking forward to this birthday with great relish.  I have felt a working and a stirring and a refining in my life over the past year more than I ever have before, and I know God is up to something big.  I don't have the faintest idea what all that entails, and what all lies in store for me, but I am SO READY.

    Ready for this new phase of life, this thing we call 30, and ready for flipping that calendar page.  I am ready to apply some of the things I've learned about myself and about others and about life in the past years and let it actually change me.  I am ready to use my voice and not always be second-guessing it.  I am ready to find my identity in the only One Who has always loved and accepted me, from before the beginning of time.  I am ready to run to Jesus and not to the world for my stamp of approval.

Bring it on 30, I am so ready for you.

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