The Heartbeat of 31

Feeling overwhelmed is not necessarily bad. I wanted to be overwhelmed today. Not by the stress that began to build a fortress around my desk and invade my heart, but by the open space created by the Lord seen in the ocean, the mountains, the sky – the open space to come before him. Empty.

There is something magnificent about coming before the Lord. The humility found at the place of surrender is both vulnerable and safe; it is one of my favorite juxtapositions.


Coming before the Lord in any manner should instantly squelch the desire to pursue anything less than the Lord, anything less than his righteousness, anything less than his graciousness. And anything I bring is less. Even if it is my best effort, my best day, my best intentions.

And there is something strangely calming and soothing about that kind of insignificance. Knowing that my frustrations, although valid, are insignificant. Know that my stress and concerns, although valid, are insignificant. Knowing that my hurts, although valid, are insignificant.

This does not mean the Lord cannot use the frustrations, the stress and concerns, the hurts, the best effort, the best day and my best intensions. It simply means that, when I come before the Lord, all of that fades away and carries no weight of significance in that place and in that moment in comparison with who the Lord is.

That’s what happened today. I realized when I reached the end of the day in a manner less than stellar and began to talk it out with the Lord (I did not get far) that it hit me – it does not matter.

There is no purpose.

With each year that meanders by, I feel the importance of the days. I feel like I am grasping at them more desperately than ever hoping that something will be…important.

I was writing this out recently to discover that this may be a reason I disappear at times. I am not always a gracious receiver. I have been practicing but I still don’t have it down. So when my birthday rolls around, I become quiet. I have become afraid of the reaction and response.

I know what it is to celebrate surrounded by friends and family and I know what it is to sit on my couch alone at night as the day disappears just like all of the rest.

It is exhilarating when others celebrate with you. It is something else when others celebrate for you. And it can be the best time to see the impact your life has on others.

So this is where I shrink back. What does my life mean? I am concerned that I will reach the end of my life and I will have simply survived. I am concerned that I will reach the end of my life and will have wasted it on the worry of emails and the frustrations on deadlines.

Perhaps that is why my heart has been beating a little harder today – I think trying to remind me that, although I feel insignificant, there is something in me that yearns to break free and run. There is a passion that remains within me that feels dangerous as it fights to be felt and heard and seen.

There is something important here.

30 feels like it was a year of grounding.

I’m not sure what 31 years of life will reveal, but I have a feeling it may be a year of releasing.

I am both petrified and excited.


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