A Love Offering to You & 33
I don’t know how I was supposed to feel waking up to 33 years old. All I do know is that I’ve evolved. Even since last month. I’m not the same person. Typically waking up on a birthday feeling different, doesn’t happen, because we’re always changing and growing, but this birthday felt different. My changes this year have been intentional. There was no fan fare. Well, except for kisses from my husband and his annual birthday hymn. Overall, the morning showed up quiet and peaceful. So went the day.
Up to now, I’ve been obsessed with achievement. Hitting the mark and the exceeding it. Taking on one challenge after the next. Conquering it and then moving. My life has largely been a competition with myself, but also an obedience conditioning with God. I’ve prided myself on meeting my goals and giving as much as I can. This verse has guided my actions: Do not say to your neighbor, Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”– when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:28)
Fast forward to year 33, and my spirit feels the overwhelming need to give. Not just of things or of money or advice, but of myself. To give of the treasures that I have stored up over the last 33 years.
“The first problem for all of us men, and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” – Gloria Steinem. I love this quote and I found myself putting this into action this year. We come to this world, blank canvases. Although born into sin, we are open to absorb all that the world has to offer and teach us. Behavior like love, joy and fun, but also things like worry, fear and doubt.
For most of 2015, I’ve been unlearning and letting go of some things that kept me contained to small living and small thinking. Habits that cut relationships short prematurely and sabotaged my ability to grow.
Those things were: toxic thoughts about myself; thinking people were out “to get” me, being disappointed when kindness or generosity wasn’t returned, unforgiveness toward disloyal people, caring about what others think of me, comparing my journey to others, feeling like I haven’t done enough, needing to apologize for my thoughts, judging a book by its cover, trying to measure up to other’s expectations of me, being too hard on myself.
Yes, in 33 years, I amassed many negative behaviors. It made me ask myself, where did these habits come from, and how have they negatively impacted my life. I had to take ownership of the detrimental role I play in my own life. The times I get in my own way and just let go. Letting go is so much easier than said. It’s much easier to adjust a 3 year old versus a 33 year old. The saying is true. Old habits die hard.
I always remain open to change and open to working on numbero uno; me. But this years changes came looking for me. What do I mean? Life has been calling me higher. You know how you can’t make it to the next level without passing the current tests. Well, I could feel God pulling for my gifts and needing me to go to the next level, but these old habits were holding me captive to low levels. You know when enough is enough. In certain areas, I’d already started the process to new habits. I went meatless in February. (I’m not calling myself a vegetarian unless I make for one whole year). I started turning my phone completely off at night in March, and the biggest change. In May, I started seeing everything I do as a “love offering.”
Typically when you hear love offering, you think of a monetary donation, or a benevolent gift. For me, it’s deeper than that. I began to see myself as a love offering. God offered me in love to the world, and so did my parents. God expects that as we emulate Christ, we become vessels of pure love. The greatest commandments in the bible, are to love God and love your neighbor.
As a “love offering,” everything I do, say, think and behave flows from love. No longer do I give to get. No longer do I worry about receiving or reciprocation. All that I do, is an offering of love, and that can only be returned, through love.
Now that I’ve told you what I’ve worked to unlearn. Here’s 33 things, I’m working on as a “love offering”
1) a giver of kindness
2) better listener
3) a more present wife to Richard
4) a more intentional friend
5) living in the moment
6) being kinder to myself
7) enjoying life outside my comfort zone
8) balance work and fun
9) being more vulnerable
10) laughing at myself
11) seeking ways to volunteer
12) serving my community at least once a month
13) using my platform to help future journalists
14) showing more compassion
15) being open to new possibilities
16) being open to new friendships
17) telling myself, “I love you” more
18) giving others the benefit of the doubt
19) creating a safe place for my husband to share his feelings
20) trying a new vegetarian recipe at least once a quarter
21) offering babysitting services to a couple so they can go out on a date
22) resting one day a week
23) enjoying a hobby
24) journaling my journey
25) spending more time at the park
27) giving my husband more hugs and kisses
28) helping my sister and brother achieve their goals
29) being more grateful
30) writing my book
31) planning a girls getaway
32) confessing good things about myself
33) sharing the love of Christ everywhere I go!
Love is truly the way. It’s the greatest healer, giver, restorer, refresher we’ve ever encountered. And it’s an action word. It’s not just something we receive. It’s who we are. For the next 33 + years I vow to love and to be love to everyone and in everything I do. This is my offering to myself, to God and our world.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
What’s one thing you want to unlearn and one thing you’re working towards?
Let’s turn this world upside down for love!
PS – Thank you for all of the calls, texts, facebook/instagram/ and twitter posts on my birthday. Your love offering to me was overwhelming and makes me even more excited for 33!
Kristen aka “a Love Offering”