I turn 30 tomorrow and while many people have given thought to New Year's Resolutions this month, I have been pondering a decade past and the one I'm about to enter. I don't have an issue with turning 30 in the sense of feeling old and I'm not having a mid-life crisis. But I have been struck by a sense of disappointment that surprised me. Early in my 20s, I had some grand ideas of what I would be doing by age 30 - I planned to be married, have kids (at least one by 30), and be working in full time ministry or supporting my husband in ministry. I figured I would have read more books, lost more weight and have a better grasp on who I am and what I'm doing with my life. People kept saying that your 20s is a time to "find yourself" and "figure out life" because you'll be more settled in your 30s. If this were true, then I'm in big trouble because these days I often feel more lost than ever before.
Because the truth is, I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. I don't have it all together and I have shelves full of unread books. And so I'm faced with the temptation to give in to disappointment and just be depressed about tomorrow but somehow I can't. Because I have been blessed in more ways than I can count. Although I'm not where I thought I would be, I am loving life and believing that God is going to use me even in these unexpected times/places. I'm learning to take my expectations and disappointments to the feet of Jesus and trust Him when I don't understand what's happening. I'm learning to surrender my dreams, my plans, my goals, and take up His dreams for me, His plans for me and His goals for my life. Sure, I am taking steps to change certain areas of my life and finding that we often learn what doors God is closing when we take steps in a direction, rather than just sitting around waiting for God to orchestrate everything just perfectly before we move.
One way that I've been encouraged this month is when I tell people about these thoughts and feelings, nearly all of them have said, "You know, Jesus started his public ministry at 30." Why yes He did. And that gives me even more hope for the future. I am a vessel willing and ready to be used as God chooses.
Yesterday my friend Katie Beale posted a note on Facebook called "Just keep dreaming" (see where I got my title from?) and I just have to repost a portion of it here: I think that there are a lot of you out there who are wondering how you got where you are. Some of you are wondering where the last 10 years went. This isn't what you pictured yourself doing with your life. You thought you'd be making more money, be married, be skinnier, be happier. To you, I would say this... DO IT, CHANGE IT, BE IT. You are the only one who can change your situation. Take control of your life. Let's all do it together.
Stop letting your fears and assumptions get in the way of your true passion in life. Whether it is job related, health related, relationship related. Let's all stop letting ourselves get in our way. Rejection sucks, but the weight of the unknown never goes away.
I can't stop dreaming. I think it's hardwired into me. I have big dreams, big ideas and lots of hope. But in the decade to come, I'm going to focus on letting those dreams & ideas be shaped by God's plans for me because I believe His plans are good. I believe He knows best. I believe that I can trust Him fully even when I don't understand what He's doing or where He is taking me. My answer is simply "Yes!" Yes, Lord, I will follow you wherever, whenever, to whatever. Yes, I will trust Your leading. Yes, I will keep dreaming and keep bringing those dreams to Your feet. Yes to You. Because my prayer for this year is that I will go deeper with Jesus, lean more into Him, and fall more in love with Him.
And so let me wrap up with a look back at the last 10 years....
- Got my B.A. & M.A. (and lots of student loans to prove it)
- Lived in CA, CO, SD, IL(2x!), PA, AL & MN (whew! that's a lot)
- Finally got to use my passport when I travelled to Honduras, Holland & Sweden
- Met my Compassion sponsor child & her mom while in Honduras - what a blessing!
- Lived one of my dreams of being a camp program director...actually did this twice!
- Fell flat on my face multiple times and experienced the joy of being picked up by Jesus and realizing how much He loves me
- Made friends that I know will stick with me the rest of my life no matter how many miles separate us
- Found joy that doesn't depend on my circumstances - praise God!
There's so much more but if I keep writing, no one will want to read this long post except my Mom (thanks for being a faithful reader of my ramblings!).