Today is my 42nd birthday.
Normally, I would be obsessively excited about this day, insisting everyone celebrate me – and getting in my feelings if someone forgot. Not so this birthday. As a matter of fact, I forgot it was my birthday today. This fact amuses me GREATLY .
Something about this year finds me more happy, peaceful and calm than any other birthday checkpoint I’ve had. It feels good. While life is not perfect for me, it is not so stressful. It’s not that there is a lack of stressful factors occurring in my life or that I have no concerns. I really can’t put my finger on it. But it feels good not to be chained to a constant black cloud over me.
I am discovering…me. For a long time, I defined myself by labels and responsibilities. Yet in the last three weeks, Psalm 139 has had a new outlook. I have…value. Or better yet, I realize I have value. I know I am well loved, cherished and adored. I’m learning (albeit a bit slowly) grace is not something that can be earned by what you do. Grace is a free gift one only needs to accept. The grace thing was difficult for me to accept, even as a Christian, which is counter intuitive to my acceptance of salvation. I felt like I had to work at grace, that I would receive grace by doing things. That if I messed up things, then I was fresh out of grace. Grace and its cohort, mercy, don’t work that way. The Lord is working me through understanding grace. It hasn’t been the easiest walk, but I am learning! Once you begin to understand and walk in grace, it is easier to extend it to others.
In learning to accept grace, I’m also learning how not to be an overachieving perfectionist, and understand making mistakes is part of life. I am not my mistakes…that is what 41 has taught me. I’m not going to get it right all the time. I don’t have to be staunch and stalwart about others who make them. I can ask for forgiveness and move on, or receive forgiveness and move on. The common denominator in the two is moving on. We often get stuck as time marches on, and we allow ourselves to become or remain ossified. We allow ourselves to view ourselves (and others) by one defining moment, either good or bad. One can either frame their lives defined by failures or make a mosaic of all the choices, events, circumstances, plans and goals of your life. I choose the latter.
For years, I thought I didn’t deserve happiness, or love, or healing. And I lived my life that way. I used to say I wanted those things yet my actions didn’t reflect it. I have developed habits that are better, and help me to align what I say I want with who I say I am. One of those goals is to be ‘softer’, less prickly. I don’t have to be…hard. As a matter of fact, during 2016, the Lord reminded me He didn’t create me to be hard. He has gone through a lot of trouble to give me a new heart and spirit, overturning the hardened stone. It hasn’t always been easy, and has been brought about through some painful situations. Yet and still, I refuse to be hard. Don’t confuse stubborn with hard. I can be stubborn…we can only deal with one issue at a time over here, okay?
So…I’m gonna go enjoy my workday birthday. Enjoy your day and enjoy the ride for your life! Cut yourself some slack and do and be the best you!