By Katie Mumper
My birthday is in June. According to the doctor, I was supposed to be born at the beginning of the month, but I didn’t arrive until the end. To me, this means all of June is for celebrating.
My family likes to remind me how long it took for me to arrive. Extended family planned their vacation for after my mother’s due date, thinking they would have plenty of time to meet me before they left. Instead, they called from the beach, asking for Katie or David (these were the days before gender reveal parties). But I was taking my time. It was a hot June; maybe I just wanted to avoid the heat.
Mom says I’ve been directing the show from the very beginning. I’m the first kid, and I have most of the typical “first kid” tendencies. I directed my siblings and friends in plays I wrote. When I was old enough for my parents to go out without hiring a babysitter, they called it “self-sitting.” I was determined to be in charge. As an adult, I like to be the one making decisions and calling the shots. I’m horrible at ballroom dancing because I just can’t seem to surrender the lead.
Perhaps it’s the desire to be in charge that makes turning another year older so difficult. I knew turning thirty would be hard, but the subsequent birthdays haven’t necessarily become any easier. As I inch closer to thirty-five, I feel less in control and more as though I’m falling behind in the race of life. Shouldn’t I have it figured out by now?
The more I look at other people’s lives, the more behind I feel. I think about my mom who, at my age, had five kids and was homeschooling three of them. Most of the people I graduated with—from high school and college—are married now. Many of them have kids. Everyone else seems to be enjoying life, working at great jobs and living in amazing places. These are things I want out of life, but I don’t have them yet.
Why doesn’t my life look like everyone else’s?
In my head, I know the answer: because this is my life and not everyone else’s. My story is not the same as my mom’s or my high school classmates’. I have my own path to follow at my own pace, so it makes sense that it would look different. It’s hard for my heart to believe this, though. My heart likes to think perhaps there is something wrong with me. Or perhaps I should just stop hoping so I can stop being disappointed. Or perhaps I should just settle for life as it is.
But God likes to find clever ways to speak to my heart. Over the last couple of years, he’s been speaking to this particular point through some lyrics from the musical Hamilton. In the show, Aaron Burr sings about his approach to life in the song “Wait for It.” While listening to it in the car one day, I suddenly found myself in tears as the truth of one couplet worked its way into my heart.
“I am not falling behind or running late,
I am not standing still,
I am lying in wait.”
It’s funny to think about those words in the context of the story of my birth. The doctor and my family would say I arrived twenty-four days late. But really, I arrived right on time for my story. And during those twenty-four days, my body was at work making sure everything was ready for that moment. I arrived prepared for the next season of my life.
I think the same could be said of me now. I’m not falling behind or running late. I’m right on time for these moments, for this season of my life. I can’t let myself be distracted by comparing myself to everyone else’s lives. I need to live the life I have, to celebrate each year and all it brings instead of dreading it.
Yes, I’m waiting for some things, but I’m not standing still. I’m lying in wait, preparing for the right moment. I’m busy getting ready so when the moment comes I’ll be ready to take on whatever comes next.
Katie Mumper is a daughter, sister, friend, writer, and singer. She loves Jesus, music, books, and great TV shows. Because she’s far from perfect, she is grateful for God’s grace in her life. She writes with the hope that others might be encouraged to let God make them new as well. You can read more of her work at beautyrestored.me.
Photograph © Verena Yunita Yapi, used with permission