It’s birthday month! And it’s pretty close to my actual birthday – Oct. 30. Like most everybody, I really enjoy my birthday. Getting to celebrate with friends and family is just a good time. When you’re a kid and a teen, birthdays always mean “what’s next?” What do I get to do now that I didn’t get to do last year because I younger? But as you grow up, birthdays (and New Year’s too) can start to have a bigger focus on the past than the future. Why didn’t I accomplish more last year? Where did the time go?
When I was 15, there was a group of young adult women who were all right around 25 who a lot of the youth group girls looked up to. They were involved in the women’s ministry, led Bible study groups for high school and middle school girls, some were involved in children’s or preschool ministry, most of them were married and some of them had young children, and they were just an all-around great group of friends to each other. They really looked like they had it all together. And I thought, “Wow. That is what I want to be in 10 years.”
Fast forward to today and my 25th year is almost up. I’ll be 26 in a week and a half. And my life looks very little like what I thought it would be when I was 15. Or when I was 5. Or 10. Or 20.
Some things are similar to those then-25-year-olds. They were role models for me in the way that they served the church, and I enjoyed being involved in middle school and children’s ministry when I was in college and now preschool ministry (before the pandemic and virtual church). And I’ve surrounded myself with great groups of friends. But I’m not married. I don’t have any kids. I’m not quite to the stage of life I saw myself living at 25 when I was younger. And most days I’m happy with where I’m at. But some days I’m not. For years and years, I had dreamed a specific dream of doing what it seemed like every other girl was doing.
Graduate high school (check), go to a great college (check), meet a guy (not in college, but still check), graduate college (check), find a job (not what I originally thought I wanted, but still check), get married, have kids, turn 25 (check).
My plans basically always just ended at 25. That was the ultimate goal. So now that I’m here, almost past 25 with an incomplete checklist, what do I do?
It seemed like if everyone else was growing up that way, that was the way it was supposed to be. Not that that way is wrong, if that is God’s plan for your life. But He has specific plans for all of our lives. And they don’t all look the same. I’d like to take this year and not worry about where I see myself in 5, 10 or 15 years. But to just be thankful for the years I have had and to strive to live out God’s plan for my life day by day instead of trying to reach a yearly goal I set for myself.