Aged to Perfection (Nearly)
Do you love (or hate) birthdays… or do they not really matter much to you? I know people who start planning and thinking about their birthdays way in advance. Those are the people who often get tragically disappointed because their anticipation and imagination can’t possibly live up to what really happens.
If you’re one of these folks, step back and realize you are loved even if your birthday isn’t treated as a national holiday. Don’t set yourself up for grief by expecting too much.
Some people really hate their birthdays. They don’t like being the center of attention, the star of the show. Or, they hate to admit they’re getting older. They duck it and keep a low profile, staying busy on that day. They mumble quick, uncomfortable thank-yous when people acknowledge their special day.
If this is you, let me remind you that you are wonderful, unique and special. You deserve to be celebrated. Also, your age is an honest-to-goodness part of your life. It represents the pain, joy, trials, accomplishments and wisdom inside you. Let your lack of self-worth or your pride (two sides of the same coin) go and eat some cake.
Others, like my husband, really don’t think about it much at all. It’s nice when you’re remembered, but no harm done if friends forget. My husband really doesn’t like people “wasting their money on presents he doesn’t need.”
For these balanced, rare people, that’s just great. Except maybe you’re just too busy or preoccupied serving others to step into your own fantastic value for even one day. Also, you might want to control how other people spend their money, but that’s not your job. And, if they want to invest it in a gift for you, accept it and feel the love. Withhold the urge to cringe and judge.
Why all this birthday talk now? Well, we all have them and we all experience them differently. But also, this week I’m turning 60. Gulp. Cough. Sputter. Choke. Tears. Sniffles.
I’m typically in the segment that really loves birthdays…my own and everyone else’s. I love to celebrate with loved ones. I know God thinks we’re all worth (and in need of) a good party. I would notice if those closest to me forgot, but I don’t have ridiculous expectations. I don’t remember ever being disappointed.
But this year is different. I’m dealing with two warring emotions: Grief over the loss of youth and joy over the gain of my earned wisdom and experience.
As I’ve pressed in and asked God to show me what He wants me to know about moving closer to senior citizenship (again, gasp!– all these new yucky titles I have to own…), He’s been pretty generous in responding.
Want to know what He’s telling me?
He’s showing me that I have earned a spot at the table because of my experience. He wants me to own my gifts with total confidence. This doesn’t rob me of humility, it just elevates God’s power in me. (Be clear, I’m not talking about salvation-that can’t be earned!)
He wants me to accept what He’s been lovingly trying to show me for years: I am good enough. I have a lot to offer. I don’t need anyone’s permission or guidance except His when it comes to using my gifts. I AM the wise older woman, not the insecure kid seeking approval or direction from those around me.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” I don’t plan to go gray any time soon, but I feel like I can wear that crown and rock it.
I’m sure I’ll still be grappling with the idea of heading into my golden years, but my confidence is certainly taking a terrific turn for the better. Contentment can’t be determined by your age. There is contentment to be had at any age! My gifts are appropriately seasoned and aged to perfection (nearly).
On your birthday, celebrate yourself and let others celebrate you too. Ask God to show you what He wants you to know about yourself and your gifts each year. He’ll give you the best gift you could imagine: love, insight, wisdom and confidence.