Last week my mom and my husband both asked what I wanted for my birthday.
Most years, I would have had an answer at the ready. New shoes. A book. A pedicure. A night out.
This time, the question made me pause.
What did I want?
In the last six months our family has celebrated the birth of Baby #2, a renewed season of vision at church, the launch of this blog (yay!), deepening friendships, and an almost-concluded PhD.
Coming to the end of a season of serious hard work has brought our family deep joy and contentment. For months I’ve said what I want as a gift is a healthy baby and a completed PhD for my husband. But we are finally there!
We have so much. Healthy kiddos. Incredible friends. Sunny California days. A church we deeply love. Vocations that bring us fulfillment and challenge.
So what did I need?
I certainly could use a new pair of shoes or two. I always love new books. Pedicures in dusty sandaled southern California are almost a professional necessity. But nothing jumped out at me as a birthday need.
Then I realized that what I really need can’t be bought.
I need boldness.
I want to learn to use my hours and days for the kingdom. I want to learn to ask one more question, to press one more inch, to issue one more invitation.
Not pushiness or coercion or manipulation, but genuine Godly boldness.
The besetting sin of many Christians, myself included, is niceness. Not kindness, which is a Christian virtue, but niceness, where we so fear upsetting or bothering people that we go days and weeks and years without asking the gently pointed questions of which Jesus was a master.
To the mommy friend: “How is your soul?”
To the Sunday school child: “Where do you see God at work in your school?”
To the formerly close congregant: “We’ve missed you. Is everything okay?”
To the Uber driver: “If God was real, what do you think he’d be like?”
To the neighbor: “I’ve noticed you seem a little down. Would you like to have dinner with us?”
Some people like to give their year a word or a theme. That’s going to be mine.
So my birthday wish? If you read this blog , ask me, “Are you being bold?”
Or even better, ask me and pray for me, that I would be courageous for Jesus in this thirty-fourth year of life, making the most of the opportunities he sets before me.
Happy birthday to meeeee (well, tomorrow anyway!).
Now let’s eat some cake.