My youngest sister, Shawndeanna, turned 16 yesterday. She asked me and a few of my more-than-twice-her-age relatives to come to her Sweet 16 party. Of course, I obliged. Shawnde (Pronounced Shon-dee), as we call her, was so excited to have all her friends over playing games, eating, singing, and dancing.
While all of the festivities were going on, I was sitting over where the "grown folks" were gathered. We talked about kids, marriage, work, ministry, and all the stuff that would bore a sixteen-year-old nearly to death. As my aunt, sisters, mother, and I were laughing and sharing the kind of stories that are only funny to adults, it hit me. I am now a card-carrying member of the grown folks club.
I have truly entered into a different phase of my life. 13 years of marriage and the daily responsibility of raising 4 children (My oldest turns 12 in a few weeks.) has truly changed my interests.
It's so funny to look at the youngsters now and remember those days when I was on the other, more youthful side of the room during parties. I used to have a grand old time with my fellow teenage cousins, laughing, and being silly. Those were good times, but again, I'm in a new phase of my life.
Interestingly, physically, I don't really feel much different than I did when I was 16 or 18. Thank God I still have my health and strength. My mentality, interests, and life's focus, however, has dramatically changed. What was important to me back then, is no longer even on my radar.
Similarly, the longer we are in a genuine, committed, and fruitful relationship with the Father, the more mature, responsible, and purpose-driven we become. As we open ourselves up to embrace God's plan for our lives, all those duties, responsibilities, and obligations that come with being good stewards of our purpose, become our core focus.
The frivolous things in life lose their appeal more and more daily, because our hearts and minds are fixed on things above. As one of my favorite scriptures found in Colossians 3:1-2 says, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
Does that mean we can never enjoy ourselves, and that we should hold around-the-clock prayer vigils everyday? No, absolutely not. Recreation and enjoyment is an important part of living a balanced, and well-rounded life. I believe God wants us to live fully, richly, and joyfully.
Yet, as we mature spiritually, our primary goals and focus still shift. Thoughts of God's divine will and living a life of purpose, supersede our selfish agendas. Our conversations change; our company changes; and our character changes.
That's because our level of wisdom and spiritual maturity changes, which positions us for greater productivity both spiritually and naturally. And this is what makes life sweet well past the age of sixteen. :-)
TODAY'S PRAYER: God, I thank You for the growth I've experienced thus far in my walk with You. I see Your hand on my life, maturing me, teaching me, and equipping me to live according to Your divine purpose for me. Help me to continue growing and making myself available for You to use my life as You see fit. In Jesus' name, Amen.