Thursday, July 21, 2011

A New Beginning?

I’m turning 50 years old in a few short months.  Until recently, I was dreading this milestone.  After all, my life is, at this point, most likely more than half over.  Have I accomplished enough?  Have I done what I was meant to do in these first 49 years?
I have definitely noticed the not-so-subtle signs of midlife . . . the print on labels and in footnotes has gotten so much smaller than it used to be. And sometimes I can’t help but heavily sigh when getting out of bed or getting up from sitting on the floor.  Some people might call it groaning, but I prefer “heavy sighing”.  Join me in my delusion, won’t you?  Maybe I should just be glad I can still sit on the floor. Anyway, I am facing more and more reminders that I am not getting any younger.
Compounding the everyday anxieties of growing older, there is the battle with ongoing insecurities, fears, and worries.  To be honest, I don’t know how many of these battles that I fight are universal and how many are unique.  I only know that I am constantly struggling with these issues, and I know they are keeping me from experiencing the abundant and free life Jesus is offering to me with every new day.
So all of these thoughts have been floating somewhere around in my brain as I am also contemplating the fact that my next birthday is a “big one”.  And I happen to listen to an interview with Paul Young, the author of The Shack.  He talks about the tragedies, struggles, battles, and poor choices that made up the first part of his life.  Then, after a crisis, when everything comes to a head, he is forced to deal with all the “junk” in his life and he comes to understand God’s grace and love in amazing new ways, which led to his writing the book, which he actually only meant to be a gift for his family and close friends.  And this happens somewhere around the time he is turning 50.  He talks about the fiftieth year being the year of Jubilee for the Israelites, the year when freedom is proclaimed to everyone (more about this in future blogs . . . for now, if you want the Scripture reference it is Leviticus 25 . . . and, as a sidenote,  if anyone had ever told me that a major turning point in my emotional and spiritual life would have revolved around a chapter in Leviticus, I would have laughed in their faces.)
I started to think . . . “What if ... just maybe . . . God wants to use my 50th year (which I randomly defined as the six months before and six months after the day I turn 50) to get me to a place where I can more fully understand and experience His freedom?”   Because I have walked with Him for most of my life, but I have often wondered if I am missing something . . . and I so want to know His love, power, and grace in all its fullness.  (By the way, this means my Year of Jubilee began on July 4th, our country’s Independence Day.  Just a coincidence . .. . but it made me smile).
So I am embarking on a journey . . . I am considering it my own personal Year of Jubilee.  I want to look at the fears and insecurities that have held me captive and kept me enslaved for these first 49 years, what the Year of Jubilee meant for the Israelites and what it might mean for me, and how I can more fully experience the freedom Christ has to offer.
I realize these topics have been dealt with by people infinitely more qualified than me. But I feel like God is calling me to write about my journey.  Maybe only because writing it down will help me to process and reinforce what I am learning.  Or maybe, it just might help or encourage someone else. 
So I invite you to join me on this journey toward more of His grace and freedom.  Doesn’t a Year of Jubilee sound kind of exciting???  I’m in the mood for an adventure . . . and I fear I may have missed a few adventures along the way.  In my first 49 years (pre-Jubilee), that thought would have made me sad and defeated.  But I am getting to know the God who specializes in redeeming and restoring things that were lost or missed. And I think He just may be offering me a new adventure . . . I am trusting Him for the courage and faith to follow.
Let me know what you think. --

“You will experience for yourselves the Truth, and the Truth will free you.”  John 8:32, the Message 

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  1. Lauren, I,throughly enjoyed your blog. Turning 50 seemed so old and now I am on the crux of 60! Ahhh
    It is nice to read that I am not unique in some of my fears.
    Keep it up girl you are terrific!!!

  2. Lauren,

    What a great message for many of us that have seen our lives as a waste or less than perfect. The truth is we wasted time not understanding God's wonderful Grace in our lives and his love for us.

    I am excited to read and your messages in the future.

  3. Welcome Lauren to the blogging world. I am thoroughly looking forward to following you in your jubilee year and also wishing you a happy birthday. Your journal writing has blessed me with amazing insight and I am confident your blog will refresh us as well. When we recognize all the great things God does in our life, its hard NOT to want to share. Thank you and happy writing!

  4. Hi Lauren, I was so busy celebrating my 56th birthday on July 22nd that I only got to read this today, but what a blessing? I can tell you that following God's promptings to write down your thoughts and feelings with such courage can only lead you down the correct road. Trust the Lord and follow His commands. Thanks so much for sharing this with me! Linda