Before I left for Alabama, I saw another birthday come and go. I am now a quarter of a century old, and as I have the two previous years… 23 & 24, I’m taking a moment to mark the occasion with a blog post. Specifically, I’m sharing how I feel about my age. Here it is, 100% honest.
When I started pondering the number “25,” thoughts like these flashed through my mind:
-I was supposed to be married by now.
-I was supposed to be a mom by now.
-(If neither of the above were a reality) I was supposed to be making more money by now.
-I was supposed to have written a book by now.
-I was supposed to have traveled the world by now.
The list could go on…
Those were the things I expected when I was young. And now that silly, negative little voice in my head is telling me that I didn’t do what I was “supposed to do.”
In looking back, there is very little that I could or would change. I know that. And at least two of those really big things listed up there are completely outside of my control.
But, as you can see, my thoughts around 25 aren’t the excited, “I’m just young and living life, going with the flow, and seeing what happens!” thoughts that lots of people have. It’s a downer to admit it and it may seem silly, but I’ve felt scared of 25’s approach because all my ideas of what “on track” would look like for me at this point, haven’t happened yet.
So, now what? What do I do with these expectations I had for myself?
I could do what I have done in previous years, which is maintain the status quo but let my feelings of frustration grow. I could get panicked and begin thinking of ways to drastically change where I am. I could “run off and join the circus” so to speak. Leave all the people whose lives I’m entwined with and the business I’ve worked really hard to build, the responsibilities I’ve accumulated… basically, do something reckless to try and fix what I’m feeling. But instead, I’m thinking of trying something else.
My 26th year could again be marked by the attitude I’ve struggled with for years…of discontentment and fighting to measure success the way Anna measures success. Or, I could turn everything on it’s ear, throw away my measuring stick, open my hands, close my eyes and say, “Lord, I don’t want my life to conform to my ideas, or the world’s ideas. I want to follow whatever plan you’ve laid out for me, no matter how different or difficult it is. I don’t want to feel fulfilled or successful as much as I want to feel poured out for your glory, filled up with your glory, and overwhelmed by your glory. No matter what or who or where it is, I want to do and be and go (or stay) for your name.”
Honestly, I’m getting tired of feeling so disappointed with myself year after year. And I don’t believe it’s what the Lord intended. So, the only action I’m going to take is praying that the Lord would teach me to be satisfied with His plan. To rejoice in and enjoy it. To lay down my ideas of what a successful and fulfilled 25 year old life looks like. To take the pressure of being something “more,” getting somewhere “better,” and doing something “greater” off of myself. Because at the end of life, I want to be able to say that I not only lived solely to bring God glory, but that I lived faithfully believing that God’s glory, and not mine, is all that really matters. My hope is that this belief marks the next year in a very real and tangible way.
Have you ever experienced, or are you currently fighting through discontentment? I know there are blessings for you in focusing on God’s glory in a time like this…
Photo by LENS Photography
Susan Houser says
Thanks for sharing Anna! I can so relate. My quickest and simplest encouragement is that I answered negative to all five requirements, and I am fast approaching 27. 😉 I have definitely struggled with feeling inadequate at times, almost like an overgrown kid surrounded by a growing number of younger women getting married and starting families.
Here are two things that are helpful for me to remember:
1. I need to be careful how I define success. Our perfect Savior didn’t accomplish many of the things we often hold as so essential. No spouse, no job, no esteem… the list goes on. By worldly standards Christ’s life was short, miserable and a waste. Yet there has never been a life better lived! I need to follow His example.
2. I need to boldly and cheerfully identify areas where I need to grow. To be honest, there are places where I have failed and wasted time. Letting go of my own expectations doesn’t mean I have no aim, it is a higher and more zealous calling! With God's grace, we can enthusiastically give our all and continue to grow in His service each year.
I’m praying God’s blessing on your 26th year, Anna! His work is always beautiful. Let’s live and breathe each moment for Him.
Anna God has beautiful things in store for you. I pray that this 25th year you continue to learn how to rest and be content in Him as He continues to reveal what's in store. You are incredible 🙂
Anna Seay says
WOW, Susan! That was such a sweet, encouraging comment! 🙂 Thank you so much. That could be a blog post, right there. Lots of wisdom! I love that thought…that the most "successful" life ever lived didn't fulfill some of the things we hold up as essential. And, you're right, there is always room for improvement and there are always areas where we can try to grow. It just can't be about our own glory.
Thanks for your prayers, Susan! And, I'll be praying for you as well. We are exactly where we should be because it's where He has us! Blessings! <3
Anna Seay says
Thanks so much, Allison! Your words are so uplifting! Blessings, sweet friend!
Thanks, Anna! You're always so uplifting too :)!
Susan Houser says
Thank you, Anna! 🙂