Today is my 35th birthday. I have to say that out loud to believe it is actually true. One half of a lifetime ago, when I graduated from high school, 35 seemed so far away. What kind of person would I be? What would my life be like?
I believe I have everything my 17-year-old self would have dreamed up by the time I was 35 – a loving, compassionate husband and father to my children, two absolutely beautiful kids, a supportive family, a church home, a house in the suburbs, a successful and stable career, multiple college degrees. My life meets my high school self’s expectations – and better than that, I believe it exceeds those expectations. It is truly more than I could have dreamed for.
I will admit that I believe my 17-year-old self also wanted a boat. But my 35-year-old self is realistic enough to know that having a boat in Nebraska doesn’t make a lot of sense if you don’t have much time to use it.
Things have seemingly fallen into place at the moment. I must acknowledge that I have been so very blessed in these 35 short years. I do recognize that this status could be fleeting and I attempt to work through that in To LIVE (in spite of our anxiety).
Yet with all of this, a part of me feels incomplete.
Don’t get me wrong – I am so very content with the life we have now, and I’d like to think that this is where God wants me to be right now. And I hope I’m living and doing as God intends in the “right here, right now.” But I also have this sense that God has more in store for me. There are ways God will use me that I couldn’t even predict right now.
My fear is that I won’t recognize it when it comes. A friend recently expressed this well – what if God puts a burning bush in my path, and I am so ‘tunnel-vision’ focused on my own plans that I miss it? I hope and pray personally, and seek prayers of encouragement and discernment to be aware and open to new calls when or where God finds me.
So, when I turn 70 and I can look back half a lifetime ago to myself as a 35-year-old, I pray that I am filled with peace and not regret, that I sought and listened to God’s unique call for me.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13
I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23