I turned 40 this week. Nothing like an epic birthday to remind me that life is happening and it’s happening FAST. I seriously feel like I was 20 yesterday - playing college volleyball, dating boys, dreaming about what I would do with my life and thinking that I had my WHOLE life ahead of me. I also remember thinking, “I will NEVER be 40.”
But here I am and as I leave my 30’s behind, I embrace 40 with a newfound wisdom and confidence. I care less about what people think and more about being true to who I am. I spent a lot of time in my 20’s and 30’s working for love instead of working from love and working for my identity instead working from it. This shift is subtle, but it’s significant.
Here’s the wisdom I am holding onto as I step into my 40’s with hopeful anticipation and gratitude!
I believe we all have “holes” in our souls left by what we didn’t get as a child or even as a young adult. I have shed countless tears for myself, friends and clients grieving the holes left by hurtful words, physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, judgement, hate, molestation, betrayal and heart wrenching loss. It is our human nature to try to fill these painful holes with anything that provides relief (even if it's temporary) - relationships, food, alcohol, perfectionism, work, drugs, affairs, shopping, achievement, kids, marriage, friendships, cars, clothes, money, etc. These attempts are ALWAYS a temporary fix - people and things can numb, but they don't heal the holes. Eventually we discover that no matter what we do, what we have or what we achieve - the holes remain. They also influence everything we think, say and do to ourselves and others.
Have you ever had a longing to have more than what you have - even when life is going “great” and everything is “perfect”? Do you ever feel there is something missing, but you are not sure what? I believe it’s because we are eternal spirits. This life is not our final destination and it’s not our home. There is something in the fibers of our being that knows there is more than our experience here on earth - working, eating, sleeping, working, etc.. I have discovered in my 40 years that that “something more” makes all the difference in how you experience life and how you participate in life.
Most of you know I love and follow Jesus. I’m not here to preach or convince, but rather to declare the source of my freedom, my peace and my joy despite my external circumstances and holes from my childhood. As I step into my 40’s, I do it with the unshakeable faith that:
- God is always good. (I haven't always believed that - boy does that make a difference!)
- He always works things out for our good.
- His commandments are not designed to restrict us but rather to protect us from hurting ourselves and others.
- There is more freedom walking in his love than there is outside of it. AMEN!
- No matter what we have ever thought, said or did - He forgives, redeems and restores. (Yes, even that thing you think is unforgivable!)
- And most importantly, unlike the love of people that is imperfect - his love never leaves, never disappoints, never hurts, never fails, never expects and is never based on what you can give Him.
In His flawless love - the holes are filled, healed and redeemed!
I have accepted at the age of 40 that you can't make someone love you. Love is always a choice. I have learned that real love is not a feeling - it's an action. Too many people only love people if they "feel" like it. Think about what manifests from that lie - broken marriages, broken childhoods, broken promises and broken hearts.
God can't make you love Him. He doesn't want robots or brainwashed followers. He has given us free will. This is why there is so much pain in the world - it's through the power of free will that we can make choices from the holes in our lives or choices from the truth of who God says we are. The source of our choices changes everything. When you choose God's love, you find that you no longer need coping mechanisms or people to make you “feel” like you are enough. You will need people/things less and love people more, which is my theme for the next 40 years! Thank you for reading!