I Used To See Birthdays As Burdens

Yesterday was my birthday. I swear this is not a blog post with the not-so-hidden intent of soliciting more birthday wishes. I almost didn’t write this because I’m lazy, but thanks to the power of chocolate covered espresso beans and Holy Spirit nudges, I am typing.

On birthdays, I’ve noticed people tend to say they’re “blessed with another year” or “grateful to be this old.” They choose a peppy phrase to communicate their appreciation of still being on this earth.

It’s never made sense to me.

While I love the texts and Facebook posts, the cake and cocktails (as of this year), that’s all June 20 usually is to me. After the celebrations have been stretched out for as long as society deems acceptable, I drag my feet into the next year. This life is not easy, and sure, there are good parts, but wouldn’t you rather be in Heaven?

Yes, depression + anxiety have clouded my understanding of being grateful for life, but there’s another issue underneath — a lack of understanding of my purpose.

Disclaimer: I’m not about to turn into Joy from Inside Out – that’s just not me. (I’m a safety pin, remember?) But I don’t think trudging through each birthday as if it’s a burden is the way I’m supposed to live either.

I won’t claim to fully grasp it, but over the past few years, God has been slowly explaining my purpose to me. And what better time to verbalize it than around my *own* birthday?

I believe I’m on this earth to point people to the Savior of the world.

My job is to be that dancing, sign-waving person on the side of the street with the big arrow and goofy moves pointing onlookers to an offer I think they should see… except maybe (hopefully) in a slightly less obnoxious way.

I also believe that as part of my sanctification process (aka God’s transformative work inside of me to prepare me for the other side of Glory), He’s changing my heart to love what He loves.

He loves it when others are pointed to Him, and I am being molded to love pointing others to Him.

I want my greatest joy to come from doing exactly what God created me to do.

Just like the dancing sign guy can’t entice customers by sitting in a corporate office tower, I can only be an arrow if I’m standing on this earth. I can’t do my job from Heaven.

If A = B, and B = C, then A… you get the point.

Another year on this earth means another year to do exactly what I was created to do. And if doing what I was created to do gives me joy, then bring on the birthday candles.

Reaching 21 or 36 or 59 means having a measurable blessing, a concrete representation of God’s faithfulness. It’s my Ebenezer – my stone of help. Here I raise my Ebenezer, here by your help I’ve come!

I’ve been given another year here to be an arrow. That’s a blessing, not a burden.

Lord, continue to change me into a person who sees years on your earth as greater and greater blessings with every birthday you give. Turn me into an effective and inviting arrow until the day when the rest of my birthday parties will be held in Your kingdom.


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