Nearing 30 years old is an odd feeling. Not bad-just odd. Passing myself in the mirror is odd. I feel like I am 22, yet the deep wrinkle between my eyebrows and the slightly droopy eye on the left reminds that I am not that girl anymore..and thank goodness in many ways for that! Wiser. More grounded. More likely to feel comfortable in my own skin. Peaceful in the midst of stormy weather...that sort of wise.
Nearing 30 is liberating. The masks of the past aren't fun to wear. They itch and they are uncomfortable and are hard to see through...even more difficult is letting others see through mine clearly. I am slowly taking the mask off. That is a crazy-good feeling. Not being afraid to be real. To show vulnerability, even fear when we need to is okay. To show love when we should, when it hurts, and not even being afraid of what it may cost is okay. It is a good thing to take off this mask of pride and show how badly I am overcompensating..that I am really scared to death.
I can say that because I am nearing 30. I can be me and open up my heart, without being worried about being judged.
My friends are coming to terms with it, too, as we age so oh-so-gracefully. We can laugh together about how life has taken us a million miles away from where we thought we would be at this point. Husbands leave sometimes. Dreams die sometimes. Debt piles up sometimes. Babies don't come sometimes. At 21, life is rosy. 30 is less pink and with a touch of gray and scattered clouds.
I was talking to a sweet sister a few months ago and I saw her begin to take off the mask as she spoke of her longings. I was flattered at first. She said I had it all. Career. Car. Success. As she spoke, she confessed jealousy of my life. I had made something of myself from nothing. She said I had children and she wanted that so badly. The mask was pulling away from her beautiful face. So intently I was listening. Welling up with validation-- wait a minute. I needed to take my mask off too. We sat there in silence and I shared. If you could call sobbing sharing, then, yes..I shared. I told her that things aren't always what they seem. Debt to my eyeballs and thousands of tax dollars owed makes me crazy even though I know God is in control. Guilt for being at work. Heartache trying to balance. My mask was pulling off quite nicely and oh, there it is now- it is off!.I miss my children. The pressure of sales makes my chest ache some nights. I want to be taken care of!
It was a beautiful picture of true sister-hood and what a release- for both of us! How beautiful is humility. He knows our desires. At nearly 30, God is teaching me to not look at someone else's life without compassion.. it is not always cherry bon-bons on the other side of that pretty mask...
Yet in it all, God is still sovereign. What I couldn't see that through my young, bright eyes is getting clearer by the day as I am refined by the Wisdom-giver. May pure intentions and God-given empathy always allow us to be real.. I can only imagine the lessons I will have learned bt 40- but bring it on!
"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has wondroursly reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong:By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running and I am not turning back!" Phililpians 3:12-14 MSG