It’s not today, but this is my last blog post before my birthday. As far as birthday posts go, I think each year I’ll have to recycle My Birthday: A Memorial Stone because it captures everything so perfectly. If you haven’t read it, then please do! I’ll be sure to reread the full journal entry therein when next week comes. Despite the obvious challenges the world has been facing, this calendar year has actually been a good year for me. In addition, my birthday year has been great too and for that I’m so thankful.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
This passage has no obvious connection with birthdays, but the reason I picked it is because it’s my heart’s desire for the next quarter of a century. As I think about the things that I regret the most over the course of the last 25 years, they’re almost always related to being a hearer, but not a doer. Or in some cases, not even bothering to hear!
Paul’s face analogy is one that really resonates with me. It’s ironic that I could probably give you the coordinates of all the spots on my face and the various imperfections I’m insecure about, yet God often has to bring to my attention the same character issues over and over again. Apparently character issues are clearly not as pressing as physical issues because they’re far more forgettable. Note to self: that’s not ok.
It’s easy to make a big deal of the day without taking time to reflect on what God has taught you through the year.
As this is somewhat of a milestone birthday and lockdown is slowly easing, my friends and family are insistent I celebrate it ‘properly.’ Unfortunately for them, I’m really not a party person. Party celebrations aren’t a problem though. What I want for you, is to ensure that you don’t bury the previous year in the euphoria of one day. Your birthday is special, and ought to be celebrated however you see fit. However, as you glide into the next chapter, don’t ignore the lessons from the previous ones.
I’ve come to the point where I recognise that the only way I can move forward – in the way God wants me to – is by being a doer. Whilst I’m encouraged by the promise that I’ll be blessed by doing, that’s not my main motivation. I’ve learnt from experience what happens when you’re not a doer of the word, and that alone would be motivation (but I’ll gladly receive the blessings too!)
P.S. I have great plans for my skincare routine as per the advice and tips routinely shared on a friend’s page (@ourdeepskin) – I need that same energy with regard to character blemishes!
- Read My Birthday: A Memorial Stone – please do try one or more of the things in the applied section that’s there.
- Have a monthly reflection – make a note of what you’ve observed about your ‘face’ and the remedial action that is necessary. It probably won’t surprise you to know I have a journal specifically for quick daily notes and at the end it has monthly review questions (if only I’d used it properly last year *sigh*).
- Accountability – it’s one thing to make a note of your observations and what you’d like to change, but you’re more likely to follow through with the actions if you’re accountable to someone. Share what you’ve observed with one or more trusted individuals who can support you.
Use this birthday (or calendar) year to ensure you’re staying on top of those character imperfections – much like you would if they were physical ones. God doesn’t reveal the imperfections in your character because He’s got nothing better to do. There are layers of things He needs to change; by observing and forgetting you’re making the process longer.