Over the weekend, a funny thing happened: I turned 30. And I don't really know what to say about that except to say that I had no idea. I had no idea how much, in my 20s, I was holding my breath and how incredible it would be, at 30, to feel like I can breathe again.
I think in my 20s, I was trying to figure a lot of things out. I was trying to find authority or meaning or...something in my life, trying to use these formative years to make something of myself. Or at least to figure out what I might want to make of myself. I think there's a lot of pressure on the 20-somethings. You're not a child any more but it doesn't feel like you're firmly established in your life, either. There's room here to make some major decisions, to try some crazy things, to give life a go because there's still time to go another direction entirely if you should so decide it's necessary. It all feels very exhilarating at the time, but as the years press on, you can't help but realize the emptiness of it. As time goes by, you start to feel how much you've just been kind of floating, and how desperate you are to just put your feet down somewhere.
And I think it's easy, too, to get lost in all the things you want to do in the world, all the adventures you want to have, all the names you want to make for yourself, all the achievements you want to meet and sometimes, you're fortunate enough to find the very things you thought you were seeking but you look in the mirror one day and realize this is not your story. At least, it's not the story you want people to tell about you. For all the things you've done, all the adventures you've had, all the names you've made, all the achievements you've met, you realize all these things say nothing about who you are. They say very much about what you are, but nothing about who you are. And you start to think about the self you have given to this world and you start to worry that maybe you haven't. The 20s are a time when it's very easy to get so lost in doing in this world that it's easy to forget about being in this world.
They're not the same thing.
All this happens without your really thinking about it. You don't intend to lose yourself in the very years you're supposed to be finding you, but you do it anyway. It happens without your really noticing it. It happens without your meaning for it to. You look in the mirror one day, maybe on a day when your 20s are about to end and a new era is about to start in your life, and you realize you've lived yourself blue in the face, screaming into your life, waiting on it to say something about you, and here you are...and your life has yet to speak. At least not how you figured it ought to.
I don't say all this to be depressing. That's not it at all. Because a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tell my story in a way I never thought I would tell it. The invitation was open - I could have told it any way I so desired to tell it. I could have told it the way I've told it for nearly three decades. But I didn't. I chose to tell it in a new way. And what I found in doing so was that even when it didn't seem like my life was speaking much at all, my life was speaking into me. God was using my story to shape me for the story He created me to tell.
So I want to take a few days (and I haven't really thought about how many yet) to tell a bit of this story, in the hopes that it might be an encouragement to those who find themselves in a similar position. To those of you who are waiting for your life to speak but can't hear it echoing in your own heart. To those of you who want so much for your life to be a bigger thing that you don't realize how big it already is. To those of you who stand on the edge of a new season and wonder where life goes from here, that you might see that it goes in the direction it's already headed - God-ward. Whether you've noticed until now or not.