catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 19 :: 2008.10.24 — 2008.11.07


On being a loser at 30

The following is a piece I wrote and posted on my blog the week after I turned thirty:

Last weekend, I was preparing myself for the big event of turning thirty. And I realized that I have no house, no husband, no car, no computer, no job, and no kids. My monetary possessions (of note) consist of a bike, an old piano and a lot of books. My reaction was: Wow, I sound like a loser!

But, of course, I say that with a bit of a laugh. When I was a teenager and asked what I expected of myself at thirty, I think that I would have been very disappointed with who I am now-and I have little doubt that I would have considered myself to be a loser. Yet when I was a teenager, I was unhappy, unsure and didn’t like myself. And now, I am filled with joy, peace, and generally like who God has shaped me to be. So the fact that I would now disappoint my teenage expectations of thirty is probably a good thing.

Living in Amsterdam in a single room in a house of imperfect people which is also a monastic community is not exactly where I expected to be-and spending a lot of time alone before a computer is not what I expected to be doing.  But I wouldn’t want it any different, for I am generally content. I am doing what I love-living out my faith and studying the Bible. And I have found opportunities to teach, which I sense is what God wants me to do with my life. I have a family who loves me-and whom I love back. And that family is not only my immediate family, which keeps getting bigger and whom I have grown to love more and more as I get older, but also the family of God in many different places.

The life I have now at thirty is never dull. As I strive to be faithful to God, each day brings its own challenges and surprises and blessings.

In the nearly two years since this was originally written, my possessions have increased slightly to include a second bike, a laptop computer and (of course) more books. And I do have a job, albeit a temporary half-time one-the sort of wonderful job that encourages me to study the Bible further, gives me time and energy to devote to things like learning Dutch and reaching out to others around me, and pays more than enough for me to live on, plus putting aside money to pay off that old student loan of mine. And perhaps some day I’ll have more of the possessions and aspects of life that as a teenager I thought were necessary to make my life full-but now I have a better idea of why they would make my life full. They would be things that I would be able to share, and they would allow me to be more faithful to God amid each day’s challenges and blessings. 

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