By the time this blog is posted, I will be celebrating my 33rd birthday, south of Dublin, in a little seaside village with some great friends. I’m really looking forward to it! Partly because I love the way the Irish say “Turty-tree”, and partly because it means I am well into my thirties and that is exciting. I’ve made it another year —another year older, another year wiser!
I remember being a teenager and thinking that I knew it all… didn’t we all! If I knew half of what I thought I knew when I was a teenager I would be the smartest human alive*. The teen years are an odd time —a mix of over confidence and a dash of self-doubt, toss in a bit of awkwardness, some fickle hormones, and don’t forget the unrealistic pressure to know what you want out of life before you’ve actually lived it. I am happy to have survived my teen years with as little damage as I did.
Then came the twenties —a time of figuring out who you are and more importantly who you are not. Somewhere along the way of growing up we put on a lot things that aren’t actually us. It might be societal pressures to look or act a certain way, expectations from parents when it comes to career, religion, education, or relationships, or maybe it is just a self-preservation idea that we have attached to our identity. Regardless of the origins, I think most 20 somethings walk around with layers and layers of not themselves clothing.
I feel like I spent my twenties taking off those layers to uncover who I really was — who God created me to be, the inner me with all my unique and beautiful characteristics. I took off layer after layer… the coat of I need to be more outgoing in order to be taken seriously, the sweater of a good Christian girl acts and looks like XYZ, the socks of I will never be as pretty as the friend that had all the boyfriends in high school, the boots of my dreams are selfish and not realistic, the scarf of no one wants to listen to what I have to say… and so many more. Some layers were taken off in the blink of an eye when I replaced a lie with truth, and other layers were like peeling your skin off a leather seat in the heat of summer, slow and painful. But each layer was worth it.
I was able to enter my thirties a lot lighter and more confident in who I am, but a little wobbly when it came to walking out life. After years of extra layers and restrictive clothes, it takes some time to get used to walking in freedom and true identity. As I celebrate another birthday, I feel like I am getting steadier in my walk each day. I know who I am and I know what it looks like to be fully me. There are still days when I put on some old ‘clothes’ out of insecurity, doubt, habit, or self-preservation, but I am getting quicker at stripping back down to the real me.
What clothes are you wearing that aren’t really you? What things are restricting you, holding you back, weighing you down?
Whether you are in your teens, 20s, 30s, or an age older and wiser, it is never too early or too late to strip down to the real you, the one God made you to be. Strip down to the glorious and beautiful human that God created. Trust me, it feels really good.
Cheers to 33 and another year of walking out who I am!
*That line is from my mom 🙂 She is a smart one.