My birthday was last week. I have a hard time believing I’m 29 and yet 29 feels like it’s been a long time coming. At 29, the possession at the top of my wish list is a minivan. I wake up most days before 6 a.m. and crash before
10 p.m. 9:30 p.m. My days are a contradiction—mundane, magical, tiresome and exhilarating—a perplexing, yet beautiful combination that comes with raising two little people.
I live a very grown up life, but there’s at least one childish part of me that I can’t seem to shake: too much of my self-worth depends on what others think of me.
Much of my life has been in the spotlight, albeit a very small one, yet a spotlight nonetheless. In high school, I was known for singing and took the stage on a TV show and center court and field at professional basketball and baseball games. In my early career, I had (what appeared to be) a glamorous job as a TV News anchor. And even now, this small space of the internet I possess gets me more attention than the typical part-time-work-from-home-parent.
None of these things are bad. These life experiences have helped shape me into who I am today. But a side effect of the limelight is that I sometimes modify my behavior to keep it from fading away.
When someone disagrees with something I write, it makes me want to hide. In fact, I’ve avoided writing about certain topics because I feel incapable of dealing with potential backlash.
At church this week, the pastor told us to ask ourselves this question: What is keeping me from being holy? In other words, what is causing me to live too much like this world instead of living like Jesus?
I know my answer: Too often I do things to seek others’ approval instead of the approval of the One who made me.
I want to write because I feel inspired, not because I need applause. I want to work because I find the job fulfilling, not because I worry it’s what others expect of me. I want to exercise because I have loved ones who need me to be healthy, not because I want to look the way society deems acceptable.
Instead of running from my critics, I want to listen to them—I may just learn a thing or two.
I’ve grown so much in the last two years of my life. Getting two unexpected diagnoses for your child and moving 3 times will do that to a person. At 29, I can’t believe how much life I have lived, but I know I have so much more to uncover.
So, what do I want out of my last year in my 20’s? Before my 30th birthday arrives my goal is this: not to live for praise, not to live the life of my dreams, but to live the life He has dreamed for me.