I thought it might be appropriate to include an old picture of me in this post. I love how the overalls have a race car on them, clearly marking they are hand-me-downs from one of my three brothers. I’m totally fine with that. I’d also like to point out that I have the same haircut now that I did back then, although I don’t put my hair in pigtails anymore.
Today I turned 28. I believe I was born around 3:30 pm, on a Wednesday. My father called me this morning and thanked me for being here. I said “I think I’m supposed to thank you.”
I wanted to keep my birthday quiet this year, which was pretty easy to do since I’m in a new place with new friends. Instead, the anticipation of my birthday resulted in some serious reflection.
From sometime in the fall of 2010 until sometime the end of this past summer I was depressed. Anxiety and depression are best friends so I attribute most of my depression to anxiety and the fact that I was too damn busy for my own good. I was not a good friend. I was irritable, insecure, snarky. But I also hid it well when I needed to. I wasn’t relying on God. I stopped reading the Bible, I didn’t pray, I tried to take control of everything. I had good days and bad days. But I remember wondering if I would ever smile again without forcing it. I would medicate with movies, ministry, mission trips. But it wasn’t until I started school here that I came out of it. My life is much less complicated, I’m focused on something I love, I’m reading the Bible everyday. A few days ago I tweeted that I love my life right now. I can’t overstate how huge of a statement that was for me.
I had dinner with some of my new girlfriends last night and we got on the subject of suffering. I shared with them something I realized this summer. So many times we (and I) don’t understand why trials happen to us. I could easily respond with James 1, but sometimes I think that’s a copout. I realized this summer that if I am going through trials it means that God thinks I’m worth it. And that is a fact that I need to remind myself of daily. If He didn’t care about us, He wouldn’t bother growing us.
And then to stir this idea in me the Holy Spirit provided me with Charles Spurgeon’s morning reading for today (I really encourage you to read it) and my reading of Luke 12. I’ve struggled with insecurity all my life. Those of you who know me well know that I’m really hard on myself. I’m finally coming to understand that if I try to love myself on my terms I’ll always fail. The secret is to love myself on God’s terms. Only then will I be able to move forward. And I am! I’ve been reading the Bible everyday, praying, putting others before me. I still have a lot of problems, but I’m moving in the right direction. Plus focusing on God takes the edge off.
Looking in the mirror last night I thought to myself “what do I want for my birthday?” and my genuine gut response was “to be closer to God.” Today is not about me, it’s about God. And just like the conversation with my father, God may be glad He created me and that I’m here, but my heart is full of gratitude for Him.