My birthday is this week, and on Sunday when I turn 37 years young I will again prepare for another trip around the Sun. Sometimes (and I’m sure I’m not the only person to do this) I sit back and think about how suddenly I became a grown up. I don’t feel like a grown up, and if it weren’t for all the grown-up responsibilities I have I would emphatically deny it.
However, the truth remains; I’m a grown up. And because of that, I look at my birthday a little differently.
I look at my wife and kids. I look at my parents. I look at the calling that God has placed on my life. My birthday is a big deal, but only because it marks time. Did I do everything I wanted to do in my 36th year of life? What can’t be put off in my 37th?
These kinds of questions lead me to a very special place; birthday gifts.
When I was a kid I loved getting sweet and awesome (hear 90s kid voice) gifts, like my Nintendo Power Pad, or Super Techmo Bowl.
As an adult, I still love getting nice gifts (who doesn’t), but what I’m beginning to realize is that the most important gifts will be the ones I give myself.
Kinda confusing, but this week I received the gift I started on my last birthday. On my last birthday, I decided that I would read the Bible in a year. And the plan I started on September 10th, 2016 ended today. There was no better feeling than seeing that 100% complete screen. It was incredible. And no one could do that for me, no one could give that to me, I’m the only person that could give that gift to myself. The dynamic part of this gift is that it made me a better human, it connected me deeper with God, and it cost me less than 30 minutes a day.
As I reflect on my life a lot of the gifts I value are gifts I’ve given myself. They were choices I made to clarify what priorities I’m living into.
This week I celebrate four years of sobriety. Four years of NOT using alcohol as a coping mechanism. There was a time when I didn’t think I would make it a day, and yet here I am. I’m a better person because of it.
So, this year I decided to give myself two incredible gifts for my birthday:
The first is to read the Bible in a year (again). It was so good I just want to do it again. You can join me if you want, I’m reading the YouVersion App “Reading God’s Story: One Year Chronological Plan” (click here to find it online). Friend request me on the app if you want a little accountability!
And the second gift I decided to give myself is to not hit the snooze button. For at least one year I am not going to let that pesky little button rob me of precious time. Karen and I recently experimented with this idea of “no snoozing” and I found out that I have a lot more time for me when I don’t succumb to the trap of snoozing. My prayer life improved, my day was less rushed, and my workout regularity was exactly what I wanted it to be.
So, that’s what I’m giving myself for my birthday. Maybe this is what it means to grow up? I don’t know, but I do know that in order for me to live into what I believe God is calling me to these are the kinds of things that matter. Not only do they matter for me, but for my family too.
I wonder, in this season of your life: What gifts do you need to give yourself? Honestly, it doesn’t have to be your birthday to give yourself a gift. You just need to decide you are worth it.