Monday, December 3, 2012

Thoughts on Thirty, Part 1

Just two days ago I found my way across the invisible threshold from my 20's to my 30's. In anticipating my 30th birthday, I assumed I would feel no different upon reaching this milestone, that this birthday would feel insignificant and common, no more important than any other previous birthday. But I was wrong.

Turning 30 naturally, yet unexpectedly, led me to some deep soul-searching and thoughtful reflection. I found myself pondering the previous decade, reflecting on where life's journey has brought me, and wondering about what the next 10 years have in store. Through this process of reflection, three significant thoughts came to mind, which I will divulge in a 3-part blog series over the next week (hopefully).

The first thing I have been thinking about recently is that I seriously doubt that the 20-year-old version of myself would recognize the 30-year-old version of myself. I've changed. I've grown. I've been transformed. I've lived a world of experiences that I could never have dreamed of 10 years ago. I had no idea I would be living in a big city, generally, or Seattle, specifically. I had no idea I would graduate from one of the more creative and progressive seminaries in the country. I had no idea I would work in so many various denominations, coming to love, appreciate, and need a more ecumenical approach to ministry. I had no idea I would leave Montana, spend time in the Midwest (Sioux Falls, SD), and venture out to the West Coast (Seattle, WA), only to ultimately arrive back at the place I started - an American Baptist Church in Montana. Life is weird and unexpected, but Mandy and I have just tried to keep our eyes peeled for what's next, listen to the Spirit's prompting, and say yes to new adventures.

I'm really proud of the person that I have become in the last 10 years. I love better than I used to. I work for peace in the midst of a violent world. I am a better listener and more caring than I ever was before. I've been transformed into someone who more closely patterns my life after the life of Jesus. But please don't hear me say that I finally have life and the world and faith figured out. I surely don't. I hope that the 30-year-old version of myself wouldn't recognize the 40-year-old version of myself. I hope that I continue to be open to change and transformation. I hope that God continues to poke and prod at my theology and ideology and that I am not too stubborn to listen and be molded and shaped. I hope that at 40 I will still be a work in progress. And I hope that I will be proud of who I have become over the past decade.

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