I turned 33 today. I'm not quite sure what 33 is supposed to feel like, but I definitely thought (way back when 33 sounded just like 60 to me) that I would have my act together by now. That we would be financially secure. That I would have made peace with my body. That marriage would feel effortless because we've done it for so long. That my voice wouldn't ever raise an octave with my obedient, polite, and well manicured children. I thought, by 33, that God and I would be so intimate that we would speak a secret language, and that my life would be so fruitful that I'd need to open up a produce stand.
Even writing that sounds dumb.
Because I feel more of a mess than ever.
It's a good thing.
I don't want to be my 23 year old version of 33. I like this messy and broken version better. And I'm pretty sure God does too. I finally feel the confidence to be honest and truthful about where I stand in life, in love, and in Spirit. God has allowed me, with painful undoing, to learn how to know myself and tell the truth to others.
It's hard. It is awkward to look at a friend that I've had for years and talk, for the first time, about money issues. It is difficult to be honest about my struggle with my weight and how I laugh about it often in public, but cry about it behind close doors. It's not easy to talk about a disagreement Greg and I are having. Usually because I'm wrong and he's right. But still. None of it is easy.
But you know what? That is where God meets me. In the not easy. He meets when I share a part of my story that feels so ugly, and then I look up to see a dear friends eyes tearing up with love and mercy and nothing even close to silent judgment. That is when. When I step out in fear, trembling, and honesty.
Those moments of honesty with God and others allow me to feel known and understood and LOVED in my state of grossness. And that makes me want to chase after a better version of myself, the one that God has designed and purposed for me. But. I cannot be on my way to her unless I know my address. I cannot get Directions until I am aware of where exactly my heart resides.
Which requires honesty.
I'm more convinced than ever, at the ripe old age of 33, that the Christian life is not about the appearance of good. It is not about pretense or pomp or reciting blanket christian phrases to convince others what I have is real. It is not about memorizing the Romans road and yelling it over my neighbors just to hear the sound of my own voice. No. It's just not.
Oh, my sweet Jesus. I believe the Christian life is about looking my neighbor in the eye, and saying, "I don't have it all together. That's actually why I need Him." It's about declaring how broken and messy and complicated I am, and how the only peace and rest I find is under the shadow of His wings. It is about gathering strength in my quiet moments with Him so that there is honesty and peace in my words with others.
My prayer is that others notice Jesus in my mess. Not in the absence of conflict or trials or even self-inflicted troubles. But I want those in my life to see how I confess my imperfections, and I'm honest about my sins, and I cling to Jesus to make me whole again. I don't want to hear, "You are a good person. You make good choices. Also, you are really skinny." But maybe that last part would be nice. Still. I hope someday someone approaches me and says, "You are a hot mess. How do you still hold on?" And then I can raise a fist in the sky, and triumphantly say, "He is not done with me yet!"
So that is my address. I am living in this scary place with dirty laundry and unmentionables just hanging out to dry. My struggles are real. But so is my God. And He is right there with me, rejoicing over my mess of a life with song and quieting me with His love. I can be honest in my inadequacies, because that's where He becomes more, and I become less.
And that, my friends, is how it is supposed to be.
So hey to you 33. I am nowhere closer to the American dream than I was at 23. And Greg and I fight. Also I wear yoga pants most of the time but I probably shouldn't. But I know that I will look back at this time in my life and know that God did work on me because I lived at this address. And my prayer is that my home will just keep moving closer and closer to His Kingdom as He makes sense of this beautiful mess.