One movie I can watch over and over again is “13 Going on 30”. I mean Jennifer Garner does a superb job of being simultaneously witty and adorable. Maybe b/c I’m more serious than humorous I’m attracted all the more to that quality in folks. Her character is 13-years-old and longs to fast forward through the awkward years of being a social outcast who is painfully underdeveloped in comparison to her peers.
I can so relate.
Well, maybe not to the under-developed part but definitely to the socially awkward part (smile). And just as is typical to the “anything is possible” feature in movies, the exact thing she wants to happen happens. ***Spoiler Alert*** She wakes up a fully-grown, 30-year-old, single, businesswoman and best friends with the most popular girl from high school. Everything she desired to happen in high school did. She dated the hottest guy, was prom queen of her class and was a member of the most popular click in school. Yet of course we all know those things do not make us happy and Hollywood wrapped up the story nicely by having her character make that same discovery. She realized that being “30, flirty and thriving” does not mean living a life based on material possessions and having a different man in your bed every night. That it really is having just one genuine best friend who doesn’t talk about you behind your back when you fail miserably in life. It’s having the ability to pick up the phone, call your parents, and know they are still accessible to answer your call and coax you through your latest life challenge. At 30-years-old I’m grateful to have this understanding as well b/c realistically not all 30-years-olds have matured from their teen-ager-y (real word?) type antics.
I would say that I am literally thriving in this season of life. I would not say that I am 30, flirty, and thriving as being flirty was an issue in my 20’s and something I’ve left behind. But God has gifted me with the ability to literally flourish and thrive in this season.
When reflecting on being 13-years-old, overweight, and a social outcast, I count my blessings life has turned out this well. Just the other night I had a wonderful convo with a male friend who was turning 31. We reflected on our middle school years and found we shared that common experience of being bullied which can easily scar someone for the remainder of their adult lives. Thankfully we have overcome that phase of our lives, walked in healing and now experience the reward of disciplined eating (most of the time), consistent working out (most of the time) and overall joy from Jesus which can not be taken from anyone.
Now we are thriving.
He went skydiving for his b-day and enjoys wearing a men’s jeans size smaller than what he wore at age 12. I’m enjoying smaller size jeans these days as well :-).
But it’s really not about the jeans, it really is about how Christ redeems and makes all things new.
In this season I’m walking in freedom in so many areas I’ve never walked in before. I’m manifesting my true identity and shedding those layers of falsehood that have fought to entangle me since birth. Natural hair, smaller size jeans, confidence in my calling, these are just a few items that represent me thriving.
At 13 I never would have thought my life would have looked this way at 30. Even a few years ago I had a completely different idea of what 30 would be for me. I bought into the lie that our culture tells us that certain things will only make us happy. As a 20-something I thought marriage was that thing. However when attending a wedding this weekend and asked very frankly from my mom’s coworker’s husband, “so Nicole, you got a boyfriend yet?” I wasn’t upset. I smiled politely, answered gracefully, and moved on to another topic of conversation. I’ll definitely admit when I left the wedding I molded his question over and over around in my mind. Questioning myself, “Was something wrong with me? Am I doing something wrong?” I know there are many singles that wonder the same thing. They wonder if maybe they need to live their life differently to find love. Lower their standards even. But as I walked to my car, and thought about my singleness, I was honest with myself.
I’m content. Genuinely content. I would love for the right person to come along, but right now, while he’s not here, I’m enjoying all of the other blessings that God has given me. And I could not always say that in this season.
My forty-something year old friend sat across from me the other day and told me “Nicole wait. Wait and embrace the now”. This friend did not get married until she was 40. She lived her life for Jesus. She surrendered, she thrived and she believed Him when He promised her that she would be married. It took 8 years for that promise to come to pass but she was able to believe and not wait on the man but wait on her Savior.
So I’m taking her advice and embracing the now. I’m embracing the hours long conversations with friends and spiritual family, embracing the fact that I’ve written a book and am currently in the editing process, embracing running across the Carnegie bridge at 9am on Sunday mornings, embracing building my business, embracing this blog. Above all, I’m embracing the fact that God has given me peace in this season; a peace that surpasses all understanding.
So 30 doesn’t look how I once thought it would. But in so many ways it is so much better. And in so many ways, so am I.
Inspired by that scene in Clueless when Tai takes a pic with a rose…