33 - The Jesus Year (and figuring out life) July 6, 2017 05:00
I'm turning 33 tomorrow. 33 might not seem like a milestone birthday like 16, 18, 21, 25, and 30 are, but I've always referred to 33 as the Jesus year. Jesus was 33 when he was crucified, and man did He do a lot in those 33 years... kind of makes my birthday feel even weightier with the comparison because spoiler alert: Jesus was a way better person than me.
I've always thought that I would have my life figured out by the time I turned 33, and used this as my goal year to know what I was actually doing with my life. For a long time this was totally attainable because 33 was so far off. But now, it's tomorrow, and as I sit here and reflect, here is what I've learned.
I don't think I'll ever fully have my life figured out, and maybe that's ok. Most of the time, I'm Type A and need to feel in control and have a plan, but, maybe being flexible is part of figuring out life (actually, I think this is definitely the case, it's just hard to realize sometimes). I'm pretty good with most of the things in my life - I have the best husband, and some really awesome kids. My day job has recently narrowed it's focus with a concentration on K-12 work, which is something I feel invested in. Mary Beth and I are working in stride and growing UPstudio. My youngest daughter is now old enough that we are in a routine as a family instead of constantly floundering with newborns. I've been studying minimalism and how to simplify my life, and am taking steps in that direction. So on the surface, everything is great. There is one thing that I feel is lacking though, and it's really within myself.
My husband and I were talking recently, and the only way I could describe what I was feeling is that I want to do more good. We had been reflecting a lot recently on the life of someone that we admired so much for her goodness. She was real, and not perfect, but she was the type of person who would drop everything to help a friend, was always volunteering to help where needed, and never let anything that was going on in her life hold her back. I want to be more like her - to be an example for my daughters and feel like I'm making a difference with all aspects of my life, and maybe even let go of some control to just be available as needed.
I thought about trying to task myself with doing something for a year.. daily, weekly, monthly.. but ultimately decided that if I failed even once then the whole project would feel like a fail. My goal isn't to put more pressure or stress on myself, but to live my life more intentionally. My mind went back to some basic principles that were instilled in my early Christian days: the fruits of the spirit. If I can live my life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then everything else should fall into place. Easier said than done, I know, but something to strive for.
When I thought more on this, I could easily see ways that I could apply each of these "fruits" to my every day life. I've been trying to put it in to practice these past few days, and have felt and seen a difference in the interaction with my daughters, and even that difference alone is worth it. So, here in my Jesus year is a reminder to try to live each day more like Jesus, and let life take it's course.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." Galatians 5:22-23