Growing Up, Finally. A Getting-Older-Not-Bitter Reflection

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One thing about having a birthday in January is that it falls smack dab into a season when people are thinking about resolutions, second chances, and fresh starts. This almost decrees how I should celebrate the day I was born.

And of course, as we get older, we can hardly keep from thinking about where we are headed, where we were a year ago, and how much progress we have made toward the ideal. It’s easy to avoid most of the year, but it sure does hit hard on the day one turns another year older.

To play it safe, this year the hubby asked me what I wanted. So the past days, I’ve been thinking about what I should ask for. Although in a better place than last year, we’re still as cheap as they come. And my tastes haven’t changed much. So I told him I wanted sushi and time with the family. Which is what I got, along with more exercise equipment from my boys.

But I can hardly keep listening to the preachers I listen to or to the artists that provide my background music without feeling uncomfortable with who I am right now. Indeed, and more so, I can hardly read the words of Jesus and study His years on earth without feeling like I’m sitting on a big pile of red-hot coals.

The problem is, I have been comparing myself with people around me. And that made me feel good–not about myself but about what I’ve done so far. I’ve been feeling like–compared with others I know, I care more for those in need.

Here are my biased bases: I don’t go shopping just for fun, I shun parties I feel are frivolous, and I don’t eat out at places where I would have to buy a new outfit, eat daintily, pay an exorbitant amount, and then tip generously. I eat at places where the tip at the fancy places would be enough to pay for my meal.

What it comes down to is this: I am cheap and proud of it. And I’m not as trivial or impractical. I pay attention at the very least.

So I am good. Or at least, a bit ahead of the pack.

And then I was brought down hard from my high horse when I heard someone say, “Your problem is, you compare yourself with others. How good would you look if you compared yourself with Jesus?”

Gah. Watch my deck of cards fall down just like that.

Pride has never looked good on me. And I’m way off base if I keep thinking another person’s walk should mirror mine.

God’s chisel never stops working. And it hurts, most of the time.

So to go back to the hubby’s question, for this birthday I asked for a gift that would keep giving–literally–to a family that needs clean water. And while this isn’t the first time we’ve done this, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how humbled I was this time around.

And—God saw it fit to bless me with a weekend of Spring-like weather, quality time with my family, greetings and well wishes from family and friends all over, and a time of worship when He reminded me of how much He wants to be my all.

This birthday was pretty much a grace-filled time of celebration. And when it’s over, the thought of that family enjoying clean water is enough to fill my heart with a quiet joy. And gratitude for His prodding to give.

So I thought I’d share this with you all. Not to brag, but to encourage. Without judgement, but with humility, I wanted to ask you to think about your next birthday. And reflect on how to make it a day worth remembering. For eternity.

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