Last month I turned 22. Birthdays hold a lot of weird emotions for me, because so much has happened around them that I never know if it’s a day to celebrate or a day to be sad. Normally, they end up being a pretty thoughtful day. Three years ago, on my 19th birthday, I was in Florida with a bunch of people who I barely knew, and didn’t really click with. I went for a walk – and got a lip piercing.
What else do you do when you’re in Florida, right? I made friends with a tattoo artist who laughed as the piercing was done because my expression was one of relief and not pain. But more than anything, that day was me saying that I needed no one’s approval, that I wanted to be different and yeah, that resulted in conformity. Let’s not tell my 19 year old self that, hey?
My 20th birthday was a little different. We had a party planned. I cancelled it because something had happened that Monday that put me out of any sort of party mood. Instead of letting me curl into a ball, though, my friends got together at someone’s house and we ate pizza and played games and you know, it ended up being an awesome birthday where the only thing I could really do was thank God for the friends he had given me – thank him that I wasn’t alone and that he was showing me that through my friends.
Honestly, I can’t remember much about my 21st. There were pancakes and there was church and that was about it. Not much was celebrated. Let’s call it the year of avoidance. This year was exactly the same.
Birthdays are an easy way of measuring growth and as I think about these days, it’s amazing to see how much God has done in me over these few years I’ve been walking with me. I hope he doesn’t leave me in the same place for too long. Don Miller says it better than I do:
“I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made fo figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.”