I remember waking up and feeling this overwhelming heaviness.
“Happy Birthday! You’re thirty!” my husband smiled and shouted, excited for the day that lay ahead of us.
I walked out to the kitchen, made a cup of coffee, and looked out to see the boats crossing in the marina. I was at my favorite place with my favorite people, and life was far more generous than I deserved. Yet, I couldn’t shake this feeling I had.
I grabbed my headphones, turned on my worship playlist, and started on my favorite walking trail. As I walked past the bluest hydrangeas and Elevation worship played in my ears, I could feel my spirit settle down. As I started to unpack all the thoughts in my head, I realized that I had created quite the lofty expectations for myself upon reaching thirty years old. With previous birthdays, the expectations were less clear. But thirty? It felt different and monumental. The snowball had already started in my head and was gaining traction quickly.
“Should I have a kid by now?” (So many of my friends do.)
“If I would have committed to _____ sooner, I would be way farther along.”
“I wonder if I had done _____, would _____ be different?”
“Did I miss anything along the way?”
I was asking God all these questions, fully aware I was not giving Him space to speak nor myself the capacity to hear Him if He did.
Now, calm down. I know when hearing a thirty-year-old whine about their age, we all want to do a quick eye roll and move on, but hang with me here for a moment.
My overwhelmed and discouraged spirit had nothing to do with the age I was experiencing and everything to do with the picture I was painting in my mind. This new decade felt significant, and all the sudden, I was wondering, “Lord, do I measure up?”
Have you ever allowed your perspective to be distorted by the pace of those around you or assumed a story to be true based on social media or the expectations you didn’t realize you had until you were disappointed?
As Jesus’ firm and gentle hands held my heart, He reminded me, “Cleere, dear one, trust that I can get you wherever I want you to go. You aren’t behind. We aren’t behind. I am right on time.”
Unwavering peace started to flood my soul as my worry became dispersed like the waves I was passing along the shoreline.
The temporary dissatisfaction I was experiencing was because my eyes were on everyone else around me instead of the One who made me. He’s the only One who knows my soul, my purpose, and the unique path I will follow with Him.
Looking back, it is so easy to see how the enemy wanted me to stay inside my own head, throw a pity party, and live in that discouragement instead of focusing on what was right in front of me! He was using the false story I was writing in my head to weave a web of insecurity, uncertainty, and discouragement. He knew that if I stayed on that track, he could kick back, put his feet up, and I would do all the work for him.
But Jesus. He reminded me through His Word that the enemy was not going to have my mindset or my day. My joy was not up for grabs.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 (NIV)
Jesus did not sacrifice, serve, and sanctify me so I can just “get by.” He wants me to have a full life, and He has already determined my inheritance. It is sure, good, and perfect, and gratitude and praise should encompass my life.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)
So whether we’re thirty, forty, or eighty, whether we have seven children or are struggling to have them, whether we’re in the midst of suffering or feeling like we’re on top of a mountain, whether we’ve achieved all we’d hoped for or feel immensely behind, God sees us. He is big enough to get us where He wants us to go no matter how long it takes us to get there. His specialty is “all of the sudden.” His nature is being a miracle-worker. His grace is sufficient, and His strength sustains us all the way there.
Imagine if a word like joy or worship or release flowed through your life for seven days straight? What if you quit worrying about where you fall short and aspired instead to one simple truth per week for seven straight days?
Through 52 short, mind-renewing devotions in her new book, Focus: How One Word a Week Will Transform Your Life, Cleere challenges you to exactly this type of transformation. Each week, you’ll dig into one word and see the power, importance, and relevance of that word in Scripture. Don’t lose another day to distraction! Now is the time to focus and know that you are loved and significant, and with Jesus, you can change the world!
To celebrate the upcoming release of Focus by Cleere, we wanted to give FIVE of you a head start on reading it! Leave a comment with a word you’re focusing on this week, this month, or this year, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book.