It’s hard to believe that I’m sitting here staring 40 in the eye. I never thought this day would arrive so soon, but here I am. As I sit here contemplating this turn of another year, I’ve begun to wonder what I’d tell my younger self if I had the opportunity. Here are a few things that come to mind.
- Don’t be so afraid. Loss and brokenness are part of life. These will come. But God is The Redeemer, and He can create beauty from brokenness. He can restore your soul.
- Take time off from work. It won’t matter 20 years from now how much annual leave you accrued. Go on that trip with your mom, your husband, or your girlfriends. I’m not saying be a slacker. Being a hard worker is essential. But at 40, there is not one trip I’ve taken, that I look back on, and wish I’d worked instead. Not one. In fact, I wish I’d said yes a few more times.
- Don’t chase perfection. Perfection is not a goal to be obtained, but rather a chain to be broken. Break it. Perfection seeking is a life waster. Don’t waste precious moments on this.
- Seek excellence, but at times be okay (even happy) with “good enough.” Because sometimes “good enough” really is good enough.
- Share yourself a bit more freely. Everyone hurts. Everyone struggles. It’s okay if people know you do the same. There is freedom in opening your heart.
- Surrender your will to God’s. He does indeed know best. The things He calls you to may seem overwhelming, unconventional, crazy even, but do them anyway. Within His will lies joy and peace. Both can be hard to find, impossible perhaps, outside of His will.
- Worry less. It’s that simple.
- Be willing to make a change. While commitment is important and often lacking today, at some point you may find yourself on a path that after much prayer you realize you should no longer be traveling. Switch paths.
- “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.” Always.
- When in doubt err on the side of grace. When in doubt err on the side of love. You’ll always be in the right if you follow these two.
- Finally, know that you don’t know it all. Even now, I realize more fully each day that there is much more that I don’t know than there is that I do know. Keep learning. Keep seeking. Keep asking.
In Phillipeans 3, the apostle Paul writes to the church in Philippi, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
And this is how I feel today. Not that I have obtained any great wisdom or arrived at my ultimate goal. But I press on.
To strive daily to forget what lies behind except for that which I can use to learn and glean wisdom. I press on.
To embrace my heritage as a beloved daughter of Almighty God, imperfect, fallible, but wholly loved. I press on.
To step forward through the shroud of fear and uncertainty that at one time would have held me captive. I press on.
To take God’s hand and boldly follow where He leads. I press on.
To right myself, trying once more when I stumble and fall. I press on.
“Toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I press on.