Today I celebrate my last day as a teenager. Most of the time birthdays aren’t that big of a deal, I mean they’re nice, but they don’t entirely make a whole lot of sense… but what really does anyway. For 365 days out of a year you are something. For the past 364 days I have been 19 years old and thats how I identified myself. Some people will throw a reaction with that, whether I’m older or younger then they thought. They identify their perception of me with my age. For 7 years I’ve been a teenager. Now I will be 20. Its kind of strange. I don’t feel really any different of course, but I do feel sentimental as I leave behind this identity and begin to move on to a new. It’s like for the past school year I’ve been a sophomore. Most people think it’s all right to not know what you’re going to do after school when you’re a sophomore, but when you’re a junior it’s a little different. You have only 2 years left! (a hint of over emphasized enthusiasm) A small portion of your societal identity changes with each passing year as you move from being 12 to 13 from 17 to 18, from 19 to 20 to 21. So many rights of passages and changes.
Maybe I’m most excited to leave behind rebellious teenage stereotypes. Although it usually takes me until December to get used to being the new age I am, and by that time it’s already half way over.
As I leave behind this identity that I carried for 7 years, I also want to leave behind everything that is behind.
“Not that I have already obtained all this [righteousness, knowledge, fellowship, and power] or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one this I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
First I leave behind all my sins because I am forgiven. Romans 10:9
Another I leave behind is my guilt and envy for the things and people I am not. Galatians 5:22-23
Lastly I leave behind the things I wanted before I wanted Christ. Philippians 3:7-11
So now I can strain towards what is ahead.
What is ahead?
I’m not entirely sure. I know heaven is ahead. I know there are failures a head, I know there are trials ahead. I know there is glory for God ahead and I know there is righteousness. I know that I will know God more as I seek to know him more. I know there is hope and joy, growth and love ahead as God teaches me how to abide in him in all seasons and identities of life whether I am a student, unemployed, a mother, single, married, poor, short, beautiful, ugly, 19 or 20. I know that he is always with me, crafting me more and more everyday into the person he designed me to be. I may not know where God is leading exactly, but I know (as I let him) he’s leading me to glorifying places.
I set the identities free, like balloons released into the atmosphere, floating away. They were nice to hold for a while, beautiful and strong; but now its time for some new balloons. There is one balloon I hope to always keep and that’s my identity in Christ.
Adieu Teenage Teresa, adieu.