Yesterday I wrote about finding contentment in knowing my place.
One way to find that contentment in the here and now is through learning who I am.
It’s so funny, in my late teens and early twenties I would’ve told you I dreaded my thirties. Getting older sounded so . . . boring. I felt like fun needed to be had as quickly as possible before I got old.
Isn’t that silly? The greatest surprise so far of my thirties is how much I enjoy getting older. Sure life has way more responsibility know. But lately I see so much value in growing up.
I’m not quite 33 years old, but thus far my thirties have found me living in a new kind of settledness. I think it’s about me learning: 1. Who I am, and, 2. Finding peace with who I am rather than trying to be someone else. It’s about me letting go of what others think about me. Now I’m excited to see how much more settled I’ll be in my forties and fifties and beyond. I hope I never stop growing and changing and becoming more settled in Christ.
I’ve begun to learn to take responsibility for my own well-being. I’ve begun to learn not to lose myself in motherhood but to be my own separate, unique, growing person. I’ve begun to give my husband freedom to do the same. I’ve begun to learn how to be fun. Doing this has the benefit of helping me love my family even more. It also inspires our kids to see their parents enjoying life and being interesting people rather than racing around catering to their every whim.
This is a process, friends. Some of it has happened through suffering, through God taking away things I thought I needed to give me what I really need. Some of it is finding people I look up to, who are living quiet, interesting lives at peace with who they are. Finding someone who lives in that settledness is a beautiful thing. I ask them lots of questions. I learn from the lessons they’ve learned.
Some of it has happened through trial and error. I’ve tried out ministry and failed at it. I’ve tried it and been able to do it but found it draining. And then other things I’ve tried and loved.
The same is true with hobbies. I read an article about how the very act of trying new things regularly stretches our brains and makes us healthy. So I both want to continue hobbies I love (like reading and writing), and regularly try new things (like crochet or camping). Even uncomfortable things, like public speaking, have allowed me victory over fears and I have a greater peace with the person God made me, and also the way He helps me take risks.
David and I are in a season of wanting to have fun with our friends. Intense spiritual conversations are valuable, but what about going bowling or going to the movies or a day at the zoo? It’s deciding to play a game together instead of turning on the TV. It’s taking a break from a myriad of house projects to go see a matinee with our kiddos. We’re learning that shared experiences add to our memory banks and that laughter is good medicine.
For me part of learning who I am is not taking myself so seriously. I’m a perfectionist and want to get everything right the first time. Which, clearly, does not happen. So I’m in a process of learning to laugh at my own self-introspection and lighten up a little.
It’s also learning my personality style and living within those natural limits. I’m such an introvert that after an evening out I most certainly need an evening in to read and go to bed early. After a couple busy days filled with people, the kids and I need a whole quiet day at home where we don’t see anyone and just focus on being together. Finding peace with the personality God gave me brings rest and joy to my life.
Finally, learning who I am means facing my weaknesses and asking for help. It’s realizing the ways I’m most tempted to sin and to believe lies, and seeking accountability and people who will speak truth to me. It’s accepting that parts of who I am need to change so I will be more like Jesus.
What are ways you’re learning who you are, right here and now?