I love gifts.
It’s my love language.
I love to give gifts and relish in taking time to listen carefully to when I hear someone say, “I just love that!”
I tuck it away in my memory or write it down and then look for that special gift to give for the right occasion. And of course, I would be remiss to say that I love receiving gifts too! But it doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive, just something someone has thoughtfully chosen for me.
God has given me a gift.
Today is my birthday, yahoo! I consider it an important holiday along with the others we celebrate throughout the year. It’s an important day to recognize because it not only marks my birth but because I realize that with each year that is celebrated it marks a passage of time that has been entrusted to me on this earth.
I would love to say that I have lived each year to the fullest and haven’t wasted even one moment but that would be a total lie. I’ve handled some years with incredible gusto of living and some not so well wallowing in the “what if’s” and melancholy of hurt and sadness. I’m not going to beat myself up too badly about it because at the core of my being my heart has been to live a faithful life and God knows that I really want to try and be as faithful as I can. I fall short often when I lose my focus and take my eyes off the One who has given me this gift. I’m so grateful that He hears and forgives and each day has new mercies.
Funny, my reading for this morning comes from Matthew 25 and the story of the parable of the talents. I realize as I was reading that I’ve been all three people in the story that Jesus talked about. The ones who had invested all they’d been given and then some. There have been times that I hid what I’ve been given because I was afraid or sad or hurt or wanting approval or all of the above. As the writer of my devotional today said,
“Notice the master’s focus: faithfulness. This parable isn’t instructing believers to increase wealth for the kingdom…rather, it demonstrates the importance of using our time, energy, and resources to bless others. The choice between using what we’ve been given and hoarding it for ourselves indicates how much we truly love our Master.”
As I step into another year of life, I don’t want to hoard this incredible gift of using what God has given me to bless others and to love well. And as I’ve been anticipating this week of my “birth-day,” I’ve come to some reflections and conclusions.
First, I entered this decade years ago with significant struggle and life spiraling out of control. It’s taken me a few years to sift through the struggle with the mighty saving hand of God, good friends, a wise counselor and repairing twisted unhealthy thinking so I can live life as God has destined me to, full and flourishing.
Second, I want to enter these next years living bold and intentionally making wise choices to influence, love well, and build the legacy God has entrusted to me.
As each day passes, I realize like in the parable Jesus told that what I hold in my hand is what I am responsible for and it is to be with faithfulness as the central focus. So I have made some decisions in the last few weeks. I want to be strong both in my heart, mind and body to live out my days with faithfulness the best that I know how. I’ve made some shifts and maybe I’ll share them in future blog posts but as I celebrate today I want my focus to be faithfulness because that is the measurement of how much I choose to love Jesus well.
SO….Let the party begin and I am going to eat cake, and lots of it (my sweet sis made the amazing cake in the picture)! I plan on spending time with the people in my world that are my treasure and relish in the many gifts that God has already given me to have as tools to live out being faithful!
Quote taken from: A Jane Austen Devotional compiled and written by Steffany Woolsey. 2012. Thomas Nelson.