A Decade of Definition
Today is the last day of my thirties. I am so thankful there isn't any weeping or gnashing of teeth! However, It does feel heavy as I reflect on where I was ten years ago and how completely different my life is from then to now.
I do know that many of my older friends and people in my church laugh when I give a heavy sigh at the oncoming loss of my youth. They assure me I will wake up in the morning not feeling any different and I will be okay. (sounds like defeatism to me ;) )
I call my thirties as my decade of definition because it was in this season that I encountered many moments that have caused me to define my character, my vocation, and has refined my faith. I recall at thirty how much I still felt like an adolescent and still needed to "grow up". I do wish that the price it cost to learn the lessons that make up a lot of my outlook today could have been minimized or negated in the amount of pain, loss, and many forms of insecurities. However, as I look ahead, I am completely thankful for what this decade has taught me.
As I hope to expand later in follow up posts, this decade held the following;
-Death of my Best Friend
-Chronic disease of my wife
-Threats to my family
Yet, it also involved a lot of
amazing moments too!
-Church to lead
-Casting out Demons (no for real)
I have seen real moments of Christlike love from the most ordinary places and at the same time have had to walk through times when those who promised to love and protect me, betrayed and sought to bring harm into my life. But through it all, I have even more resolve to love, to show grace, to laugh and be goofy at myself. I know how fragile and precious life is, and so I seek to capture the joy of simple things (like food in the cupboard) and turn them into long lasting impressions in my heart that remind me of God's goodness.
As I sat in a colleagues church this week for an annual event in our denomination, I saw a banner in the sanctuary that reminded me that I started this decade with this message and therefore it is fitting that I finish it with the same phrase. We serve and can know a God who "Restores all things". I seek to watch and walk through the next decade with more insight of my limitations and with a lot less shame for the how they teach me more about God's character and how his faithfulness is present to walk with through each day.
I wake up tomorrow feeling like a very fortunate person, that I get to start a new season not defined by the mistakes, scars, and successes so far in life. Rather, I allow these moments to remember what I have dropped in my faith that didn't make it through the tough times and needed to mature to what is still present as I wrestle, labor, and serve the God who calls us all out of darkness and into marvelous light.
I go on, not knowing what crisis or gift life brings ahead. However, I have the proof in the past that although one might feel like "Your Life is Over". I can assure you it can be these moments that bring a greater definition to the man or woman you are being called to realize more and more in the reflection each day.
If you think fondly of our connection, then know that feeling is mutual and can only hope for more encounters that bless us both.
If you do not feel this way about our connection, then don't worry. I hold not a care for feelings that fuel dissension or disdain for one another. I can only hope that God restores this too and it doesn't define you and I.
Keep Looking Up!