Navigating the 30’s: A Call to Arms

A several years ago (three as of a couple of weeks ago) I begrudgingly entered that tenuous territory of my thirties, and with that, has come the internal and external noise of adulting.

 

On an average day in my life, my monologue sounds a little something like this:

 

To two children: “Please don’t put your tongue on the handle to the public bathroom stall. Yes, I will read you Poorly Pig for the 11,000th time this week. Of course, I will put lotion on your  imaginary skin disease at 3:00 A.M. For the love of all that is sacred, stop kicking the back of my car seat with your tiny ninja feet!”

 

To one hard-working husband: “Have we paid this bill? We have dentist appointments on Tuesday. Did you schedule swimming lessons? Can you please fix the exhaust fan in the bathroom! When was the last time we were alone?”

 

To my 83 middle school students: “Yes, I will be sure to grade the essay that took you two weeks past the deadline right away, so you can get your iPhone X back.  No, Captain Underpants is not an appropriate independent reading book for a 13-year old with a high school reading level. Are you really asking me if you can use the slang “bunz” in your persuasive speech? Unfortunately, I can’t have a discussion about your solo kills in Fortnite right now, as I only have 20 minutes now to eat my lunch, go to the bathroom, and contemplate the life choices that lead me to this moment.”

 

To my Christian subculture: “{Insert cricket sounds} because I’m not sure what to say or if I should or where I stand or what my part in all of this is because I am both a woman and a teacher with a voice and ideas in a subculture where those two identities don’t jibe.”

 

To myself: “You should have your master’s degree by now.  You should be twenty pounds down by now. You should drive for every school field trip and make Pinterest-level treats for every school celebration. You should memorize more scripture. You need to find a cause to champion yesterday. You should have that manuscript done. You should be more and do more and definitely watch less Netflix.”

 

In the Venn Diagram of life, I am sandwiched solidly where longing meets fear.

 

Longing for new experiences. To travel and reach and learn. Find opportunities to a make a difference or a change or something solid that will last… that might bring God glory and help other people. Fear that this moreness requires much more enoughness than I bear. Fear that those nameless, faceless others will judge me for being discontented. Fear that everything under the sun has been done. That I will put forth my best effort and pray in fervent faith, and it will be for naught.

 

I have developed a bad case of revisionist history or spiritual amnesia.  Wherein I just continue to wander in the wilderness instead of claiming the territory that is my birthright. Succumbing to the allure of apathy…the apparent safety and security of the average. Where I might mistake that longing and fear are unhealthy and incompatible instead of the opposite. If I dismiss, that I serve a God whose M.O. is to create, undue, reframe, refine, and break molds.

 

But sisters, we cannot listen to those lies any longer. Because God is always doing new things no matter how stagnate life’s monologue seems at times. He glories in upending expectations. And longing and fear can work in tandem quite nicely. Fear of the giants but longing for the milk and honey. It is being able to use the fear as a catalyst to achieve what we long for most. Focusing on the fear that the guilt of not trying supersedes the fear of failing. Believing that each of us has a territory…a sacred space…a tribe to impact…with no need to worry about scarcity or having to hold each other back to succeed. It might look different or mundane in comparison but not in actual value.

 

So the tenuous territory of my thirties will continue to be scary I’m sure, but it won’t be because I haven’t ventured hand-in-hand with fear through longing into my own God-ordained space.

To my sisters: “Embrace what scares you, and let it push you to create and speak out and serve because I need you in this. To remind me and teach me and inspire me when the giants are loud and those negative inner thoughts are louder. Let’s cheer each other on during our scary, amazing adventures.”

 

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