I’m so far behind.
I turn 30 this year and let me tell you, I won’t be making any “30 under 30” lists. Many of you can quickly see how unhelpful lists like that are. However, I did live my late teens and early twenties with a sense of big dreams and big ambitions just simmering on the back burner of my priorities. My biggest priority was making everyone around me happy. So, those ambitions could only flash to the foreground when it served to please a professor or grandmother as the case may be.
Well, getting married young, getting divorced in a painful, blindsiding manner, being a single mom, dating, and getting married again all slowed down those ambitions too. There’s a whole lot of life that requires attention and can make audacious dreams seem quiet.
I was thinking about some of the things I’d like to accomplish today and like a slap in the face I thought, “Oh, my dear Jesus… I’ve completely failed to cry your name from the rooftops. If I have failed to grow fast enough anywhere, it is in holiness and boldness in my testimony.”
But Jesus isn’t concerned with 30 before 30 list and He came in with kindness and truth before I had a moment to let that thought grow into guilt and shame.
The radio station I had turned on does a “Flashback Friday” every week and so “Sometimes by Step” by Rich Mullins was playing.
The lyrics say:
“And on this road to righteousness.
Sometimes the climb can be so steep,
I may falter in my steps,
But never beyond your reach.”
The words of this song brought to mind scriptures that also reminded me of truth.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Let me sum up what the Lord laid on my heart in that moment: my timing is not His timing.
I want to believe, on some level, that I can drink enough water, exercise, and set goals to reach my way into holiness. If I pull hard enough on my bootstraps, then I will suddenly testify to the word of the Lord and bring people to their knees. The big problem is that I am not an agent of perfection for myself.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
The Lord has already set me free from a teenage eating disorder, the chains of perfectionism, a workaholic-people-pleasing lifestyle, and from a painful, desperate sense of self-loathing. The Lord brought me safely out of postpartum depression and delivered me from the single motherhood I did not want for myself.
Likewise, He will deliver me from fear and hesitation with my testimony. I won’t be able to grit my teeth and suddenly become holy. But, I will be able to abide in His word, speak to my Father (prayer), and worship in every manner imaginable. In the meantime, I can trust that He will do the work and He will transform me into the image of His son. I may not achieve my personal goals or my goals of holiness on my timeline, but I can rest assured that step by step He will lead me down the path that He has set and in His time I will be made complete.