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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Jones

Becoming 40: I Choose the Journey


The journey of self-discovery, and then losing oneself in some ways, and then rediscovery seems essential to the human experience. Even if unrealized, we all travel the road of personal becoming. Who we are isn't quite who we were. Who we will become differs in ways from who we are today.

What we call a "coming of age" story might also be labeled a "learning of self" or maybe "a discovery of identity." The symbiotic activities of life's transitions, individual experiences, and development of beliefs and values coalesce into the formation of self.

Yet, woven into the fabric of these discoveries is that awkward leaving behind of former things. We enter into liminality, and the very discomfort of the in-between pressurizes the passageway of reformation -- literally, RE-formation. Not re-creation; at least, not entirely. To be sure, there is much newness. But this isn't always a complete undoing and redoing. It's quite simply...growth...though perhaps in especially re-formative ways. Certain traits, habits, and desires must be lost so that others might be found and animated in their place.

These stages and seasons function to resist stagnation. They exist necessarily -- such is the nature of life -- and in so doing, serve that vital purpose of continued cultivation. We might see them as demarcations of progress or signposts of development or milestones of maturity. And they can feel weighty, even though at times we're unaware of their significance. All the while, entangled with the celebration is a tinge of ache, remorse maybe, sentimentality, even fear. Yet even towing their attendant trials, we need these identifiable boundary markers.

They help us find our bearings.

They let us catch our breath.

They beckon us back northward, a reorienting towards what's good and valuable and true. But that doesn't mean all of these "coming of age" transitions feel so effervescently exciting. Certain ones appear more enigmatically brooding.

I wonder if needlessly so. Whether at 40, 65, or 90....if life isn't over, then what remains must be meaningful. What can feel like an existential encroachment must be redefined as a bridge into newness. The deep chasm that threatens our undoing is crossed over by the hope that what lies beyond is full of as much purpose as what lies behind -- maybe even more.

I have a choice. I can fearfully tiptoe to the edge, regretfully glancing over my shoulder at what once was or who I used to be.

Or, I can become...again.

I can courageously break over the boundary marker into a new land of fruitfulness, a full season of life, hope, purpose, and promise.

To relocate the analogy seaward; I can weigh anchor, cast off, and throw open the sails of my life to the fresh wind of God's Spirit carrying me into the next adventure with Him.

I choose the journey with Jesus.

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