Today is my birthday. I’m 35. I woke up this morning with a blog post on my mind; not a new one to write but one written four years ago on my 31st birthday. That post is below. I read it this morning and it encouraged me to pray for the grace to persevere. I want to run as though to win the prize; I don't want to waste my life (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Today is my birthday. And I will even tell you my age – I’m thirty-one. Frightening? Not really. I’m surrounded by adopted church mothers who insist that I’m “nothing but a baby”. Their unrestrained and confident affirmations offer no room for disagreement so in the end, I’m left to concede – thirty-one ain’t nothing but a baby.
Still, there was another voice this morning – one more gripping and even surer than that of my church mothers. I woke up early to it. While soft, it was insistent enough to disturb. It was the voice of Scripture. And its message today was “Watch yourself lest your heart be weighed down with dissipation” (Luke 21:34).
I first encountered this passage about two years ago while wriggling in a rut. It was an easy pattern to fall into – a busy work life, a busy family life, ministry obligations, not to mention the social media trap -- diversions chipped away at a disciplined prayer and personal Bible study life. “The rut” was a restless and discomforting place to live but the feelings weren't enough to inspire change. Change came through the conviction of God’s Word. I read Luke 21:34 and saw a heart weighed down with dissipation – in this case, wasteful preoccupations that lulled my zeal for fellowship with the Lord and growth in the knowledge of His Word. The underlining message that I heard then was “don’t waste your life.”
With each age and New Year comes the reminder that life here is not forever. There is an end for each of us and I do not want to waste my life. I want to do well for the Lord as a profitable and useful servant who brings pleasure to her Master. I want to turn ever more from the dissipation that weighs down the heart to set on affections on the LORD. I want to be jealous for His glory, submitting to His Spirit so that I can please Him (Romans 8:1-8). How ever many years might be ahead, I want them to be used purposefully and intentionally for the glory of the LORD.
I’m convinced that change isn’t so much a to-do list as it is God’s work of sanctification in me. And I’m confident that He who has began that good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). “My work” in it all is to commit to prayer, study and the intentional pursuit of sanctification. So I thank God today for another birthday and ask for the grace to do well for Him – because I don’t want to waste my life.