A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Looking Forward to 40

Posted on: August 12, 2013

(I)n your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

–  Psalm 139:16

There’s no getting around it: I am literally counting down the days until I turn 40. I’m not sure whether I’m more challenged by the fact that I’m entering my 40s or by the fact that I have a 13-year-old son (and everything that goes with having a teenager).

But I wanted to put a positive spin on turning 40. Inspired by a video I saw at a CWL meeting that showed someone doing 21 good deeds to celebrate their 21st birthday, I’m setting 40 goals (yes, 40) for this year. Being a list maker, I’ve organized them into four different kinds of goals:

  • Things that scare me: For example, letting go of things that are holding me back, like all those mementoes just taking up space in my cedar chest and closet. I want to move forward when God asks me to rather than let my baggage and fears keep me marching in place.
  • Things that let me be creative: For example, transcribing one of the songs I’ve written instead of keeping the music in my head. I want to use and not waste the gifts God has given me.
  • Things that would be good for my physical, mental or spiritual health: For example, exercising regularly. I want to have the energy to do the things God asks me to do.
  • Things that would strengthen my relationships: For example, making family time (like movie night, board game time or taekwon-do classes) a priority. I want to have good relationships with the people God has brought into my life.

I’ve already gotten started on my list to encourage myself because I was struggling with turning 40. But having lost a friend to cancer five years ago, I remind myself that every birthday you celebrate is precious, and every day is a gift. A chance to change for the better, to use your talents, to care for others, and to do some good in this world.

And I take comfort in the assurance that God knows what lies ahead for me and knew even before I was born, as Psalm 139, one of my favourite psalms, tells me. And that, as Jeremiah 29:11 says, God has a plan for my life: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If you’re also celebrating a milestone birthday this year and wondering what lies ahead, then I pray you would be reassured by these verses and encouraged to move forward with new goals for your life. (See my May 23rd post, “Pressing On,” for suggestions if you need them.)

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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