I used to get all worked up about birthdays. The first spiral of angst would involve the fact that my years were inching upward. I was so distraught the year I turned 20. I thought my life was over! 29 was another bad one, just the anticipation of the following year of 30.
As I fretted over my life slipping away, I also worried that I wouldn’t be celebrated on my birthday. That no one would make me feel special. That I wouldn’t feel loved. Validated. Remembered. My expectations skyrocketed, leaving those around me trembling that they wouldn’t do enough or wouldn’t do it right, that I’d fly off the handle, tossing out accusations that had no basis in reality.
Thankfully, the Lord worked on those things and I’ve been in a whole new place for about ten years. No longer do I lament the rising number on my birthday cake. Nor do I have any expectations for celebrations of any kind, for I know the people that love me love me every day, not just one day a year. And I know that the celebration of my birthday is really my own personal celebration of Jesus, who knew me before the foundation of the world, who gave me breath and life, who made me a new creation, and who is even now working in me to will and to do His good pleasure.
But a funny thing has happened in that place of contentment over birthdays. The celebrations–big and small–have become so much sweeter than when I depended on them to fulfill an empty place in me. Now I cry when my friends lavishes on me a gift I didn’t expect. Or another friend spends time choosing something a token that shows how well she knows me. I could go on and on. Unexpected blessings at every turn, raining down and soaking me in the way I’d always desired, but no longer need. Because my God is good like that.