Dread is usually how I feel when my birthday comes around. It has nothing to do with getting older – I actually am enjoying that part. What causes an arising of such a negative emotion is the attention that usually accompanies the event. I am uncomfortable being the center of attention. I would rather this day go by uneventfully and with no fanfare. At most I’d like to have a few friends over or go out to dinner.
Oftentimes my dislike of everything birthday causes me to pressure Shannon into avoiding all attempts to celebrate this day for me. Anyone who knows her knows why this is a problem. She views birthdays as the best day of the year. In fact, if she could, she would celebrate her birth-week instead of just her birth-day. She did, actually!
Finding a disconnect in this situation is easy. It is between dread and celebration. Finding a solution is difficult.
Actually, it isn’t at all.
During a recent prayer, God remind me that my birthday was coming up. I rolled my eyes (let’s just claim it was respectful – ha ha!) when the next portion of the message came from God. He said that by not allowing your wife to celebrate your birthday it is depriving her of joy in your day. This little reminder may have come a little late for her to plan something this year, but it did cause a shift in how I view my birthday.
If there is one thing that I know about God, is that He rarely stops with disruption. Usually riding on the coat tails is healing from the broken place that is causing the problem.
Exploring the reason dread was my mode of operation when it came to everything birthday, a memory resurfaced. A friend threw a surprise birthday party for me at a restaurant and I literally walked out in tears. The reason, only truly realized upon reflection, was I lived under a tremendous amount of shame and fear. I was not living from my true heart. Rather, I was living a lie that I was not a real man and scared others would believe that too. None of that was true, of course, but it was an agreement I had adopted.
God’s healing of shame and fear will always be a life-long process. However, substantial healing in this area has taken place. I no longer dread celebrating my birthday, or what I consider to be the awkward and unnecessary attention being placed upon me. I have now upgraded to indifference. LOL!
In all seriousness, I realize a large part of being in a marriage is placing Shannon’s desire to celebrate me above my desire to not have the attention. It took a prompting from our Father to transition my thoughts. And that is where it should start. He is a kind and compassionate Father who reminds us that we are not alone. We are in community with Him and each other.
Our prayer for you this week is to ask God to reveal one area in your life where you can allow someone who wants to serve you do so.
I’m off to celebrate my birthday with my family!