Birthday blues

If you know me at all, you know my birthday is a day that I dread.

If my mama knew that, she would be so sad because she would feel like she failed at celebrating me all these years, but my parents have actually done the world’s greatest job at showing me how much they love me every single year. They drive up to see me, feed me, shower me with words of affirmation and gifts of all kinds without fail. I’ve never had a birthday where my family made me feel less than a princess.

But through college and into adulthood, I’ve had this burning desire each year to be appreciated by the people that I live my everyday life around. I so deeply long to hear, “wow Whit, I really love that you’re on this planet” from someone that doesn’t have to feel that way, someone that sees me day-in and day-out. I feel like my birthday is the most vulnerable day of my life because my core questions (“do you love me?” or “do I matter?”) might as well be tattooed on my forehead. So, the days (weeks, really) leading up to my birthday are usually filled with an unusual amount of tears and anxiety. I avoid all planning out of fear that no one will show up, no one will care, no one will affirm that who I am is necessary to this gigantor planet.

This year was no different. The past month held more birthday tears than I would like to admit. I cry out of fear because it might be that this year, on my one personal holiday, it will be proven that I’m alone and uncared for by any and everyone.

And ya know what? Each year I’m proven wrong. Each year my family and friends engulf me in love and show me that I truly am surrounded by an army of God’s people that really, really cherish me. But still, I know that I’ll face this same dilemma yet again next year. Each year anxieties roll in, tears take the wheel, and my heart is left in a downward spiral though my heart knows the real truth: my fear is rooted in pride and all sorts of sin… and my heart isn’t choosing to hope in the truth that God Himself has put in His Word for me to grasp on the hardest days (and weeks and months).

So, this blog is for people like me who, on their bad days, are attacked with the lies that we are unseen, unloved, uncherished, uncared for. This is for those of us who wonder if we matter in this gigantic world or if our daily love actually points the world to Jesus (because in the end, He is the point, not us). This is for those of us who are tempted to find our security in the validation of others, our hope in the clutches of the affirmation of friends and coworkers and significant others, and our identity in our usefulness and likability. The point of this post is to encourage fearful, anxious hearts like mine through giving so many of the timeless truths that steady our hearts when the storms of life rage.

But before that, I want to acknowledge that my birthday blues truly are a result of a super ugly sin struggle with pride. The indulgence of self-importance is not glorifying to Jesus and I want you to know that if you’re anything like me (who clearly has a super hard time with this), you’re not alone. And what gets me through those couple weeks is knowing that I am who Jesus says I am, no less… but also no more. Wanting to be loved isn’t the problem. The problem is that we already are and don’t need to put the weight of our desire on anyone but Jesus, on our birthdays or any other day of the year. As one of my favorite pastors says, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” So, let’s read the following truths through the lens of making much of Jesus, thanking Him for His faithfulness, His kindness and compassion, and His love for struggling hearts like us.

So, without further ado, here are some of the precious truths to keep us sane when our hearts fixate on fears.

When you believe that no one would notice if you never got out of bed, know that God knows when you go out and lie down, and even takes the time to discern your ways (Psalm 139:3).

God is El Roi, the God who sees. You are seen by Jesus, regardless of whether anyone else sees you. The Lord watches over you and all of His babes that love Him (Psalm 145:20).

You are precious and honored in His sight… and God loves you (Isaiah 43:4).

Jesus is in you, and through Him you are courageous and strong. He’s with you and won’t ever leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

You’re free from fear because God is with you and strengthens you. He’s your greatest help and upholds you when you can’t hold yourself up anymore (Isaiah 41:10).

God’s grace is sufficient for you, because God’s power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Lord hears our cries (Psalm 28:6), collects our tears (Psalm 56:8), and is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18).

Even when we’re faithless, God remains faithful to us because He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

We are not alone on our hardest days (Psalm 23:4) and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39).

You are remembered. You are engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:6) and God makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).

You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), known by the Lord before He formed you in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and are chosen by God (1 Peter 2:9).

These trials, though hard and seemingly fruitless, will result in fruit at the coming of Christ (1 Peter 1:6).

You are God’s beloved, which means that you can rest secure in Him no matter what day of the year. The Lord shields His beloved all day long and the one He loves rests between His shoulders (Deuteronomy 33:12).

You matter to Jesus, you matter to me, and, in case you were wondering (as I’ve found myself wondering these days), who you are truly is necessary to this big world. We’re the jars of clay that Jesus has chosen to put His precious treasure in… and that’s all that really matters.

All my love,

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