Yip, yesterday was my birthday! I had a great day, and while I didn’t succeed in making it a holiday for everyone at work (I did try!), I did have a fun day! Amongst the lovely birthday cards was one with the word “May you live life fully, find happiness in little things, follow all your dreams, always realise how truly beautiful you are – and never forget how much you’re loved.”
Wise and true words I think! As I read them, I was reminded of Dr Seuss’ poem “Happy Birthday to you!”
If you’d never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!…
Or worse than all that…Why, you might be a WASN’T
A Wasn’t has no fun at all. No, he doesn’t.
A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present.
But you…you ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant!…
Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!…
I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!
If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!”
(Dr Seuss, Happy Birthday to me!, 1959)
God created each of us with an eternal and specific purpose in mind. He has a good future for us that He planned from the beginning. The purpose and plans God has for us were specifically planned for each of us, not our neighbour, friend or colleague. We can’t fulfil their destiny and they can’t fulfil ours. We were born by His purpose and for His purpose.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to me.” (Psalm 139:16)
We have a choice. We can either align ourselves and thereby identify with what is said about us and what the world thinks of us, or we can identify with Jesus. Jesus was secure because He knew His destiny. He said He knew who He was because He knew where He came from and where He was going. That is, He identified Himself with His Father.
“Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.” (John 8:14)
Remember the fairytale – the Ugly Duckling? Just like the farm animals failed to see the Ugly Duckling’s potential and opted to judge him based on his outward appearance, today we are often tempted to do the same based purely on the natural realm. We can judge and be judged based on appearance, ability, education, status. But God knows what hidden treasure and potential He has placed in us.
When the people saw a Shepherd Boy, God saw a King. When people saw a common fisherman, God saw the rock upon which He would build His Church. The Lord looks on us in our finished state. His perspective of us is eternity. When He speaks to us it is as finished not as we are now. He calls us out, just like He called Gideon into his destiny by claiming him as a man of valour. When we know who we are in Christ, we then are secure regardless of our position. That is certainly something to celebrate!!!!
So Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to you! And remember you are loved – by our amazing God!
Today I walked past a bus stop (to my car, yeah I’m not a public transport girl!) and I noticed the different postures of those waiting for the bus. One was standing to attention, like a soldier, eyes focused down the road to where the bus would come round the corner. Intent on the bus. Another was sitting idly, relaxing, while several more were making use of the time to be on their smart phones.
Waiting – it is very much a part of life. Dr Seuss puts it most elegantly in his book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”…
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
Or a bus to come, or a plane to go
Or the mail to come, or the rain to go
Or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
Or waiting around for a Yes or No
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
In life we wait – not just for buses, planes and Doctors, but to meet the spouse, to get the promotion or land the perfect job, to have children. There is often a milestone we are waiting for. Some of these milestones come with prayers to God for breakthrough, for answers, for the fulfilment of a promise or dream.
The question is, what do we do in the Waiting place? Are we in standstill not taking in present surroundings, eyes just fixed on that bus (answered prayer / promise) to come? Or are we keeping ourselves occupied, making the most of the time to do other things. Not giving up, still waiting, but being active in the wait.
I waited for my husband. We didn’t meet until I was 30. But those 20s were not wasted years on just waiting for him. I travelled overseas, bought a house, worked in a job I loved, was promoted, head hunted. I enjoyed having a girl flat with pink cushions in the lounge and flower arrangements in the bathroom. My friends and I made the most of social events. More importantly I made the most of the time I had to spend with God.
And then suddenly the man who became my husband appeared. I’m sure those passengers waiting for the bus who were engrossed on their smart phones found that the time sped by and the bus seemed to suddenly appear. It felt that way to me.
Now as life continues beautifully with my husband and family, I look back at the waiting place and feel content and happy. In my home are reminders (souvenirs) that during the waiting time, I didn’t just wait, I lived.
Don’t just wait – live!