Eleven days ago, I turned 30 years old, and I’ve been celebrating ever since! I’ve had a bunch of Birthday parties over the past few days, each shared with some amazing people in my life. One of my favorites was a breakfast brunch I had last Saturday. It was a smaller gathering, but it was so treasured because I was able to spend more quality time with just a handful of people as opposed to little bits of time spent with a large group of people. My friend Alisa planned the Birthday brunch so that we could celebrate both my Birthday, and our friend Elizabeth’s. We invited mutual friends and spent the time sharing laughs, stories, and wisdom with one another.
We pick up life lessons from all kinds of sources—public lectures, movies, songs, poetry, stories, and sermons. I get some of my biggest life lessons from hearing the life experiences of others in relaxed settings and just observing the way people around me interact. That morning, we all sat down to eat a yummy breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe and I gleaned so much wisdom from the ladies surrounding me at the table. The jokes and coffee were flowing, as were the encouraging words and presents! I got some sweet gifts: a pretty plant from Alisa (which she guarantees should withstand my not-so-green thumb), new fun socks, a gift card to Hogwarts (The Jewel Box Cafe/my favorite coffee shop), and my most treasured gifts—cards with encouraging words written inside!
It felt great to be surrounded by my friends as I celebrated what some would call “THE BIG THREE-OH!” Honestly, I haven’t felt “older” since I turned 21. I can see and hear certain changes in my everyday life, but my perspective on life hasn’t changed much since then. I still feel very young and very free. I still feel like I have the whole world at my feet and a drive to grab life by the reigns and hang on for the ride. The day before my birthday, I decided to do something that I hadn’t done in a while. I cancelled my plans for the evening and took some time to reflect on where I’d been in the past few years, where I wanted to be during this next year of my life, and who I wanted to become as I continue to get older. It made me come face-to-face with some realizations about myself and at the end of the night, I felt ready to take another step forward, out of who I had been for the past 10 years and into a new season of life.
I thought about what mattered most to me:
the students I pastor
I thought about what doesn’t matter:
situations I can’t control
not being understood by people who don’t know me
having an abundance of material possessions
selfish actions of insecure people
I thought about what I wanted to gain in this next year of my life:
more wisdom and discernment on how to positively affect the lives of others
a stronger relationship with my extended family
to sharpen the skills and talents I’ve been given
to explore more and have more adventures
to find true love and nurture it
I reflected on some nuggets of wisdom
and made a commitment to put them into practice:
Roll with the punches
“There are many things in life that will catch your eye,
but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.” — Michael Nolan
Life is far too short to take every thing seriously.
“It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!” — Jane Austen (Mansfield Park)
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” — Henry Ford
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high
a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” — Emerson
A few months ago, a guest speaker came to our church and prayed for me. While he prayed for me, he prophesied some incredibly hefty things over my life. Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything hokey or like apocalyptic—it was just empowering and challenging, and humbling. In the past, I’ve been severely skeptical about those who claim to “prophesy,” mainly because it’s gotten such a bad rep in the public eye and it’s always seemed so weird to me in general. For some reason, that night as I was being prayed over, the words were real and they had actual factual meaning to my life. That a man who didn’t know me at all spoke words that dealt with the core of my heart and life, piqued my curiosity and left me thinking,”Wait. What just happened?” I can’t promise that anything or everything he said will come to pass, but it’s definitely encouraged me to think outside of the box and dream bigger. I have a CD with his prayer recorded on it. The night before my birthday, (and what spurred on this time of reflection) I listened to it. Twice. I felt the words and remembered the moment all over again and I knew that it was time to really think about and digest what was said. When he first prayed for me, the others who had heard it came up to me and were buzzing over all the great things that were said. For the next few weeks, it was the hot topic in all my discussions with friends—”So I heard so-and-so prophesied over you and that it was pretty incredible! What did he say?!?” So I had to relive it and cut the prayer down to the Sparks Notes version. It was still very hard for me to wrap my mind around the entire situation.
It was a bit weird, since I’d never really taken time out to reflect. I felt like I had put a book on a shelf and grabbed a new one, with fresh pages to begin writing a new story. In a sense, I kind of see it as The Neverending Story. You know, the one with the luck dragon and sneezing turtle. I just hope that as the story moves along, it’s filled with light, love, laughter, and hope. I’ve already been asked to take on some new creative projects and I’ve even started brewing some new ideas of my own. I think the only other thing that would make this next story perfect would be to have Falkor come to life and whisk me away on all those adventures. But I guess in the meantime, Jet Blue will have to do. I’m not sure how it will all play out, but it will be fun to take a look back at some point even further down the road and see the ground I’ve covered. What will be even more exciting is having all of my closest friends and my family in the story with me! I’m very excited about what lies ahead for me and I still feel like I have the whole world at my feet and a drive to grab life by the reigns and hang on for the ride!