||Twenty-Three||

This morning I decided that sleeping in was a much better option than going for a run. That getting any size smaller than a Venti for your free birthday drink at Starbucks just wouldn’t make sense. I also decided last night that all I wanted for the first hours of my birthday was to be in bed and asleep before midnight and I was. I was snuggled deep in my comforter at a prompt 11:20…I could have pushed it till midnight but I didn’t want to (also I was born at 6am not midnight…technicalities).

This morning, cure I played Shake It Off twice on a neat record player and danced with my favorite baby and I realized I want 23 to look like that. To look more like shaking things off, like dancing relentlessly just because and not always playing it safe with grande coffees.

Each year, I find myself not really thinking about what it is I want to receive for my birthday but who was I in between the last birthday and the current one. What did I accomplish, how did I let God use me and what are parts of me I want to see more of or less of?

I have learned that I am someone who carries worlds of stress on her shoulders. I place expectations on myself that are probably really unrealistic and equally unhealthy. I like to play it safe, I like to keep my feelings at a distance, refuse to say what’s on my heart if it seems too “selfish”, I carry that first child/ pastors daughter, Christian school leadership type of weight and I’m realizing it’s constricting me from experiencing a lot of life’s beautiful whirlwinds. I am conscious of my language, sometimes so conscious sometimes it’s restricting and does more harm than good. I am conscious of what I make public to others so I don’t taint this seemingly little perfect reputation I‘ve concocted. There is a precious little balance of living well and living right and living like you’re walking on a thin layer of glass beneath you. Living on glass gets exhausting and it’s not very fun.

 

I want 23 to be about risks and dreaming bigger than I allow myself to.

I want 23 to be about releasing exhales and inhaling the new, uncomfortable and unlikely.

I want 23 to be the year of boldly daring.

Boldly daring myself to take life one sweet crazy moment at a time.

Boldly daring to say what’s on my mind in the appropriate spaces and do it genuinely.

Boldly daring to let God use me even more so and to remember that it’s never about me and thank him for that.

Boldly daring to know when to say yes and when to say no.

Boldly daring to know when I deserve more for this heart of mine.

Boldly daring to sink into the present wherever that may be and soak in all it has to offer.

I want 23 to be the year of shaking it off twice and enjoying the freedom of doing so.

About venti coffees and adventures that weren’t necessarily planned but just happened.

In one of the terminals in New York about two years ago there was a little green piece of paper that read, “Take Risks. Do something each day that scares you.”

I don’t know about every day but I know that today we went big with venti Starbucks drinks and shaking it off twice and probably once or twice more again.

“My birthday advice to you,” she says, “is that you try not caring every once in awhile, it’s so freaking liberating. It’s so freeing to do what you want and only being concerned of what God thinks of it.”

So here we go, twenty-three. The year of boldly daring, of risk taking and shoulder shrugs.

Of letting go of the little things and letting God move in the freedom of living on solid ground and not layers of glass.

Here’s to shaking it off and venti drinks.

Here’s to 23 years of, as Albert Tate would say, “Come on with some more Jesus Come on with some more.”

Lastly, thank you to every single individual who took time out of their day to send me a text, a phone call and a voicemail or social media love me. Thank you for showering me with so much love on this day of birth. Your words and heart emojis are not in vain, I treasure them all.

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