My birthday is tomorrow. I’ll be 26.
How do I feel? The same way I feel every year: grateful, but depressed.
I don’t know. I can’t quite figure it out.
It started around age 19.
It was the Fourth of July. I scheduled time to blow up fireworks with friends for the night. But before I did, I ran a couple of miles around my neighborhood in the early evening — it was light enough to run, but late enough to see fireworks.
And plenty of them did I see.
About one mile in, I looked up and saw an amazing set of fireworks. “Wow! That is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen,” I thought to myself.
You know what happened three seconds later?
They were gone.
A verse from James immediately struck my mind:
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes” (James 4:14).
Here for a little while, then gone.
And ever since that night, I have been highly conscience of the speed of life, and ever-so deliberate about not wasting it. Because that’s my biggest fear: wasting my life.
So my birthday, in my mind, is just a reminder that another year has passed by.
Maybe the worst part is the introspection.
“Shouldn’t I be published by now?”
“Shouldn’t I have a family?”
“Why does my resume looks so unimpressive?”
“Will I hear ‘well done good and faithful servant?'”
I think about these questions every year, and every year the list grows.
I went to a party recently. An older person from my church was there. He usually has good things to say, so I asked him a question about life.
“What’s been the hardest year of your life?,” I asked.
“30,” he said.
“Hmm. Intriguing. 30? Why 30?,” I replied.
I chuckled gently as I muttered my second question. I was trying not to show my anxiety, because I knew what he was about to say.
“Because I looked back on my life and realized I hadn’t accomplished much, and it made me depressed.”
He said exactly what I hope he wouldn’t.
I sighed. Then ended the conversation.
I’m too hard on myself, I know. I need to go back to the gospel, and remind myself that Jesus Christ did not waste his life, and his perfect record has been accredited to my account. So even If I do screw up, I’m still right with God the Father because of Jesus. And nothing can take that away.
That’s drilled in my mind, yes. Just need to get that down in my heart.
Maybe it won’t be that bad tomorrow after all?
I’ll enjoy the cake, the cards, the comments. I’ll have fun with family and friends. My birthday will be fun. But in the back of my mind — or maybe even the front — will be C.T. Studd’s famous words, “Only one life, “Twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
I’m enjoying my life. I just wish it would slow down a little.