Twice today, people I met commented on how happy I looked. I was pleased but a little surprised. I did feel happy in a quiet sort of way. I just didn’t expect that it would be so evident that people I hardly knew would notice it. :)
Why am I happy today? Because my 28th birthday book-ends a truly amazing year for me. A year that had me in the depths of sorrow and heartbreak for a good part, but that saw me finally opening a heavily guarded door within myself – a door that changed the way I looked at everything.
I have no doubt that I am a very different person today than I was a year ago. It may not be something that others can detect, as I suspect my outward behavior hasn’t changed all that noticeably. I am still terribly imperfect, but I know that I have become a more spiritually and emotionally mature version of myself over the last 12 months.
That is why today I do not face my increasing age with any ambivalence. I’ve found that the most important lessons we need to learn require us to experience life in all its painful glory. I think I will never again envy the blissful ignorance of youth. It is Wisdom I whole-heartedly seek now, for she brings with her deep peace and joy even as she sees reality with unflinching honesty.
I am also happy today because my birthday is a day for me to celebrate the people in my life. Those who in countless intentional or unintentional ways have helped shape me into who I am today. I celebrate them not only for the times they love me well, but also for the times they hurt me and deepen my flaws and insecurities. I celebrate all this whole-heartedly because I have come to believe that everything happens for a greater purpose, and that God uses our flaws to help each other build character just as much as He uses our strengths.
I am happy because I have a better understanding now of what it means to be in process. It’s ok that there are things in my life that seem so screwed up at times. It’s ok that there are many things that affect me of which I have no control over. It’s ok that I don’t know many things that I think I should know. If I learn to live in each moment, I can draw power even in my unfinishedness.
Finally, I am happy because God had invited me over the last year to rediscover my true identity – my identity as His Beloved. I now know that I can only truly accept another’s brokenness when I can genuinely accept my own. I must identify myself as Beloved before I can also see another as Beloved.
As I stand at the brink of my 29th year staring into the great unknown, only one prayer is in my heart.
May Your will be done, Lord. May Your will be done!