Friday, September 9, 2011

A Milestone

I was born 9-11-1961.
My Dad's clinic where I was born. It has since been torn down.
The first part of that date means more now than it did then. If you're doing the math, you are realizing that I had another milestone birthday the day our world blew up - the day our world came crashing down. I felt for my kind friends and family that day. They all wanted to wish me a "Happy Birthday!"  when none of us were happy. Luke, who was in the 6th grade, got in the car after school that day and said, "Mom, I'm sorry this all happened on your birthday."  Another friend, who I saw that evening, put the whole turning 40 in perspective when he said, "There are a lot worse things than turning 40."

Yes, there are.

So now, ten years later, I'm turning 50. I think most would agree that 50 is a big birthday. Half a century. While I think all birthdays are a bit of a mortality check, this one is particularly. Not very many people live to be 100, so I'm pretty safe in saying that my life here on earth is probably half over. That is not a bad thing, it is just a real thing.  I say that recognizing that my days are completely in God's hands and my next breath could be my last. That's exactly where I want my life. But there's still something about these milestone birthdays that make you pause and take a little closer look at your life and how you are living it.

I remember consciously doing this for the first time in relation to turning 50 in January. I had been mulling the idea of a blog for sometime, but had just kept putting it off. But when 2011 hit - the year of my 50th birthday - I started having the "you're not getting any younger" thoughts. "What are you waiting for? and "Just Do It!" were also bouncing off the walls of my cranium. On January 20, 2011, I hit the PUBLISH POST button for the first time. I was shaking. I was elated. And part of the motivation that enabled me to hit that button? I am turning 50.

That birthday, unlike me, is not procrastinating. Procrastination. Ugh.  That character flaw has haunted me every one of these fifty years. Some years ago, I heard about a link between perfectionism and procrastination which explained my Achilles' heel a bit. Actually made me feel a little better about it.

"Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. Perfectionists tend to procrastinate because they expect so much of themselves, and they are scared about whether or not they can meet those high standards."

But with the thought of 50 on the horizon, the thought of life moving on at a pretty good clip, I have been spurred on to do it now like never before. Following Dave Ramsey on Twitter adds fuel to this anti-procrastination, pre-50 fire. A couple of his recent tweets....

If you keep doing what you have been doing you will keep getting what you have been getting. CHANGE! /reaping 

George S. Patton on decisions: "A GOOD plan, violently executed now, is better than a PERFECT plan next week." Make the call! 

See what I mean?

Finally and most importantly, God has been speaking to me through His Word.  Everywhere I've been turning lately seems to speak of the brevity of this life.  A passage that sums it up is one I've been memorizing.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

This is truth. These kind of words keep a person keeping on. That's why we need to be in God's word every day. God's word corrects wrong thinking. It is the salve for the hurts that come our way.  It enables us to not just survive, but to really live. Psalm 19:7-8 talks about what God's word does to us and in us.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
     the precepts of the Lord are right
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;

I want those things! Now, more than ever. Because, I'm turning 50, and I don't want to waste a minute of this gift called life on worthless things that don't revive the soul, that don't make wise the simple, that don't bring joy, and that don't enlighten the eyes.

And speaking of gifts, I couldn't end a post about my first 50 years without expressing what is really inexpressible: deep, deep gratitude to God.  Why He gave me life, why He loves me, why He saved me, why He gave me the family He did, why He gave me the friends He did, (and, add to this a thousand other "whys,"), I cannot even remotely begin to fathom. I'm choking up even as I type.

Last year, when I wrote a thank you to all the people who wished me Happy Birthday  on Facebook, I quoted Psalm 16:6. I need to repeat it here - because it is so true.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I'm turning 50. I'm grateful for the first 50. I'm grateful for today. And I trust the one who holds my future.


  1. So full of hope. These remarks can only come from the mind of one who is His. You know that you have had my full ear here. I am so glad you have taken this on. What an encouragement to us all. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.