It’s my birthday week.
And this girl who loves standing up in front of crowds of thousands to talk about the most awkward things, yeah, it’s like pulling teeth to get me to say what I’d like to do for my birthday.
In our home, you’ll see us finding any reason to celebrate because this life is too short for us to wait for the big moments to pop the champagne or bake some cookies or throw a party. Like when First-Girl announced it was Winnie the Pooh’s birthday and we baked cupcakes and made crowns and lit candles. Or when we got some work in the drought season. It didn’t matter that the work was transcribing hours of audio and not at all glamorous or life-changing. It was a miracle and answered prayers are all worth the celebrations this side of heaven.
All last week a friend keeps asking what I’m planning on doing for my birthday and she won’t settle for my vague statements. And I finally get honest and admit that this asking to celebrate me, yeah, it feels uncomfortable. Perhaps a little selfish? And though I secretly want it (who doesn’t?), it’s an awkward thing for me to say what I’d like exactly.
Because honestly, I don’t really know.
Sometimes when you spend so much of your day pouring out for others, you forget how to ask for you. And it feels all kinds of wrong to say yes, I’d like some time for myself or no, I don’t want to do that and yes, could we please do this instead?
And while I’m getting all kinds of naked honest here, can I tell you a little more?
That while I’m celebrating the many little moments around me, so much of what I see when I look at myself is the work still to be done, the distance to go rather than the ground covered and the battles won.
And maybe that’s all of us. The secret desires to be more, to do more, to make tomorrow a little better than yesterday, they’re what keep us driving forward.
But then you wind up asking yourself, when will it be enough? And the harsh truth is never. It will never be enough.
I’ll never be the best wife, the perfect homemaker, the chef de cuisine, the mom with all the activities and the right response and kind word every time. I’ll never be the friend who keeps in touch consistently and perfectly celebrates each birthday, or the speaker who never miscommunicates or gets misunderstood. I could have a thousand lifetimes and I will still come up short.
And…so will you, my friend.
This life we’re living, it has us tricked into feeling like we have to do all of it perfectly, all the time. We get together and laugh about how ridiculous that is and of course, no one can ever do it all. And we hug goodnight, head to our homes and in the morning, wake up trying to be the exception. Because maybe we can find that balance and do it all just a little bit better than the next person.
In the mess of all that, we’re trying to be like Jesus and love and serve and it’s a joy most days to do what we do, but how many of us are ladling out water from wells that are drying up?
Maybe the answer is a little more celebrating of ourselves.
Not the ourselves we put up in filtered pictures, or the ourselves built by completed to-do lists and notable resumes. Not the ourselves that comes from cutting other people down with the sharp knife of comparison. Even if we’re just comparing with the self we wish we could be.
No, it’s celebrating who we are…..in Jesus. Because in Jesus, all that striving, all that trying to do it all, pushing hard to become more, and running after better while never feeling like enough, yeah, it finds an end.
That Book promises that those of us who call Jesus our everything, we’re sons and daughters of a King. We’re adopted into royalty and set to receive an equal inheritance as the Prince. That whatever we were is gone and we’re new creations, fresh and holy. We don’t need to try and make our mark because we are already marked, chosen and set apart.
Most days, I live like I’m still a servant trying hard just to make it without the whole world crashing down. I’m not walking around like a daughter of a King, filled with peace and content in knowing that I am enough by the simple grace of whose I am. I’m certainly not convinced that no matter how the day goes, my worth still remains.
Most days, I’m struggling to live out the truth of who I am.
I’m crawling into bed and that persistent friend, she texts, “You are precious and amazing and are worth celebrating.”
And that’s the truth.
We all are. God could have made anyone, anywhere and He chose to make you. And even with all the hang-ups and screw-ups, He adores you. He doesn’t just call you friend, He calls you daughter, son, brother, sister and He loves you.
You are precious and amazing and worth celebrating.
Maybe this year we’ll finally start to believe that. And by His grace, live it. What a difference that could make.