It’s my birthday ya’ll. Today I turn 39. Whoa! Even though I have moments I am amazed I am almost 40, my body definitely reminds me that this is indeed a fact. From the couple of patches of gray hair that peak out at around my temple to seeing wrinkles around my eyes when I smile, I am thankful I have been given the gift of growing older.
Normally, one of my birthday traditions has been to write out my prayers, hopes, and goals for the next year. I embrace all that the next year has ahead of me. But this year, I decided to do something a little different. Let me tell you why.
Sitting at dinner with a friend recently, I talked about a few new ideas that I had dancing around in my head. She listened intently while I excitedly rambled on about what I wanted my next step to be.
“So what do you think?” I asked, eager to hear her feedback.
We chatted a few minutes about the idea, discussing ways that I could make the next step work. As we kept talking, she expressed a concern. My friend reminded me about the danger of chasing the next thing, when maybe I haven’t spent time enjoying all that had been accomplished to get me to this moment.
Leaning back in the chair, her words immediately struck a deep place in my heart.
This wasn’t the first time I was given this piece of advice recently. Just days before, my husband had talked with me about the exact same thing. They were right. Most of my life has been focused accomplishing the next. The next degree. The next kid. The next five pounds. The next move. The next deployment. Going and going and going. Never really pausing long enough to enjoy the fruit of all the prayers, sacrifices, tears, and hard work it took to be in that season. Yet, here I was-AGAIN. Days away from turning 39 running full force into the next without pushing pause to savor the beauty of the present.
Going home from our dinner, I made a decision. For now, no planning. No goal setting. No pushing toward the next.
Today, I pushed pause and decided to soak in the now.
Whenever the focus is more on the next accomplishment, we can develop tunnel vision. We loose sight of being grateful for what we already have and all that God has already done.
Instead of listing what I wanted to do on my journey to 40, I spent time reflecting on all the ways God was evident in my journey this last year on my way to 39. I would not allow planning for the next take away from spending time cultivating joy and thankfulness in the present.
In my reflection, the steps to 39 have been a year of being stretched. I found myself saying no to committing to good opportunities so that I would have room to say yes to God opportunities. With each yes to God, I found myself feeling uncomfortable and not quite sure how all the pieces would work together. But I knew I didn’t want to miss out on intentionally participating in what God wanted to do in my life.
There were moments of celebration and moments with tears. Moments that built my endurance and pushed my patience. Moments where I knew God was there and moments I felt unheard. Yet, in the midst of it all, I was growing.
Today, I am pushing pause. I am making the choice to celebrate right where I am.
Pictures: LindseyMorgan Photography