I love birthdays. They’re one of the few times in the year that all of your friends gather together and express just how much they love you. It’s always humbling to hear the difference your friendship has made to someone’s life, and heartwarming to see that you mean as much to your closest friends, as they mean to you. I love the cake, I love the cards, and there’s a special place in my heart for the influx of Rosé that birthdays seem to bring.
On Tuesday I turned 23 and alongside the usual excitement of the lovely day I was about to experience, was an overwhelming anxiety about what I had done with my life so far. I remember when birthdays were all about sparkly birthday outfits and choosing an activity that your friends would enjoy to celebrate with you doing. 23 has brought me face to face with the feeling that I can no longer use ‘being young’ as an excuse or as a testament to how ahead I am in life. With 23 comes great expectations and this year, I have felt the weight that growing older had brought. As I have fretted over what turning 23 would mean for me, I have been rightfully ignored by people over 25 and helpfully consoled by the under 25’s who are still close enough to my age to sympathise.
I am under no delusions about my age. I know I haven’t suddenly become decrepit, and past it, and ancient. However, I cannot ignore that I have reached an age that makes me a ‘real’ adult. I’m in the age bracket of climbing the employment ladder, and house buying, and marriage and not-far-off babies, and the pressure of that makes my heart race. As I have worried that I have not come far enough for a girl of my age and background I think back to the things I learned at 22 and have no choice but to snap out of it!
1.Your education does not define you
I was knocked off my ‘smarter than thou’ pedestal when my degree results came out, and for a while struggled with who I was, if I was no longer the clever girl teachers had been writing in my reports over the years. I battled with self-confidence as I questioned all the things I thought I was good at, until I left my skills and talents at the door and developed a confidence in God. When you lose the very thing that defines you, you realise that you need to find a definition that is stable enough to last your lifetime. God is the only god that can do that. You might be smart and you might be skilled at x, y, and z, but what you can do or can’t do, cannot dictate who you are. Rest in the peace that you are a child of God and trust that you will become the things that God says you are.
2. Your salary is not your source of provision.
I learnt the hard way that jobs can be lost while the things you have to pay for remain. Having to trust God to provide for my needs, completely changed my perspective on my salary. No job is a sure thing and you have no guarantee that you’ll get to leave every place you work on your own terms, with your next job is already in place. Last year God came through for me right when I needed him and showed me that he is my ultimate provider.
3.Your career does not encompass your entire purpose
God has called you to do something bigger than your job. You may not feel like you’re career is where you need/want it to be, but don’t let that make you feel like you’re failing on all fronts. Now is the time to seek what God has called you to do and make sure, in spite of where your career is at, you’re focused on fulfilling your purpose. What good is it to become CEO and make no steps towards the mission God has for you?
If getting older has knocked the steam out of you, I hope this post encourages you to view your birthday with less disappointment and more excitement about what God has in store for you this year. Your CV will not get you into heaven and your salary cannot pay the debt of sin. Let’s thank God for the grace we have found in Jesus, who gives us every reason to be grateful for our lives. You may not know what you have to live for, but you can take comfort in who you live for everyday.
Peace and love and birthday cake