Last Wednesday was my birthday. I celebrated in what is now the traditional way – a phone constantly buzzing with text messages and a facebook wall full of well-wishes.
I find birthday celebrations are strange now. Well they have been for years – since I moved away from family. Birthdays were a HUGE deal when we lived at home – the day was yours and you even got to choose what was for dinner that evening! But even better, was our birthday parties. I’ve had some fantastic birthdays – my 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays were pretty epic. My 22nd birthday was my first birthday away from my family (even though my parents flew over to see me).
Birthdays now are just….different. Growing up in the country, EVERYONE came to your party, as everyone knew you, and well….there wasn’t much else to choose from. In the “big city” everyone is seemingly double booked all the time (my diary is a scary place) and nailing down RSVP’s can be a headache – to the point that last year I didn’t even celebrate my birthday. This year, HALF of my guests pulled out the day of my birthday party.
As someone who’s primary love language is quality time, this honestly hurt. I knew most of the reasons were legitimate. August is a tricky month – there are far too many birthdays, and nearly everyone is somewhere along the spectrum of “sick”. But (to steal a phrase from work) one I worked to “reframe” the situation, I was ready for a fun time out with my friends and my birthday party was a fantastic night. I really do have a fantastic group of friends.
One thing I find myself struggling with though – and this seems to surface more around my birthday – is this feeling of disappointment that creeps up on me. I realised this week that I’m still subconsciously holding myself to some kind of ideal “this is what ADULT looks like” – and I’m really nothing like what I thought I’d be by this age. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing and I need to constantly remind myself of this.
While my life is not at all what I envisioned as a 16 year-old, I’ve seen so many of my dreams come to fruition, I’ve done and seen things that I never thought would come to pass. And in all that, I’m still learning to trust God with the promises and dreams that He’s placed in my heart – and that’s where HOPE comes back into it. I’m still learning to live each day CHOOSING to keep my hope in God. Not in my job. Not in my friends. Not in my church. Not in my abilities. Choosing to be grateful, even when things get hard, even when things get dark.
Ps 25:4-54Show me the right path, O lord;point out the road for me to follow.5Lead me by your truth and teach me,for you are the God who saves me.All day long I put my hope in you.