Birthdays

How do you celebrate your birthday?  Is it with a child-like exuberance and enthusiasm; honoring/marking/celebrating a life well lived; is it an ordinary day or do you approach it with a chip on your shoulder?  Please ignore the giant boulder on my shoulder, friends…  Last week I crossed the 47 (gulp!) mark, guys!  As I have continued on this ‘relentless pursuit of a life reimagined’ I think I have done a decent job at remaining grounded (yoga word) by remembering who I am, despite my circumstances.  And perhaps that has been the exercise….or undoing that I have been meant to learn after all.  Not placing value in WHAT you do or WHAT you have, but in WHO you are and/or rise to become.

Over the past year or so, especially the past couple of months, I have sensed that I have been underestimated and judged by the chapter/verse that people are walking in to my life on.  And instead of giggling behind their backs and blessing their hearts, I have grown an enormous chip on my shoulder.  The even scarier part is that I haven’t told anyone….I’ve let it grow inside of me and fester.  So what have I done about it?  Nothing!  I put on my best face and hoped it would go away as I very much didn’t want to feel this way…and with every ebb and flow of disappointment, personally and professionally, that chip continued to grow and I have retreated….from friends and family.
When I first moved to Virginia (two years ago) I started having dreams about a lion.  It wasn’t every night, but it was recurring.  I wasn’t afraid of the lion….he would always be following me or I would be following him and we were always climbing.  When I did a little research and talked to my paid friend (aka, therapist) about it we discovered that the lion symbolized strength, courage, assertiveness and power.  Knowing what I was going through at the time, it made perfect sense….I probably haven’t dreamt about the lion in a year until the past month or so.  HE’S BACK, GUYS!  I didn’t think much of it…or him…until a particularly low Sunday morning when we sang the following song at church:
THE LION AND THE LAMB
He’s coming on the clouds, kings and kingdoms will bow down
And every chain will break, as broken hearts declare His praise
Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You
Our God is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain
For the sin of the world, His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
Oh every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
So open up the gates, make way before the King of kings
Our God who calls the saved is here to set the captives free
Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You

….like a 2×4 to the face I realized that yes, it has taken A LOT of strength, courage, assertiveness and power to rise up from that fateful day in February of 2016.  However, ‘my Lion’ is the one leading the charge, fighting my battles and that everything/everyone will bow before Him.  In essence, He’s got this, y’all, and maybe I shouldn’t be so caught up in how I’m being underestimated or judged because after all that speaks WAAAAY more about the other person than it does about me.  Chip chip!  During this time I was also reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (an oldie, but a goodie!) and compiling a list of things that I knew/know for certain.  When everything seems so upside down sometimes you have to bring it all back to what is tried and true.  Towards the very end of the book (maybe even in one of the last chapters) something she said SLAYED me:
‘This is the most profound spiritual truth I know:  that even when we are sure that love can’t conquer all, it seems to anyway.  It goes down in to the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts.  It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds.’  (insert ugly, snotty nose cry here)  Oh my goodness…stop it right now!  THANK YOU to all of my friends who have chased me down and OUT of the rat hole and given me my hundredth wind.  I’m here because of it!
So bringing it back full circle….I am a wealthy woman, but probably not by your measuring stick. And perhaps that fear of being underestimated or being judged was my own insecurity or lack of awareness. On this birthday I realized my spiritual battles are being ‘handled’ (I miss Scandal!!) and that my earthly army is stacked.  Now I better go check on that ‘chip….’

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