Growing up, I used to love visiting the COSI Museum in Columbus, Ohio. It was full of creative, kid-friendly exhibits and games, my favorite of which was called “progress.” My eyes lit up as I walked through the different decades of the past, spinning rotary telephones and jumping in old-fashioned buggies. And I desperately wished that instead of spitting me out into the COSI hallway at the end, “Progress” would take me to a room where I could see the future. My future.
But life’s not that cut and dry, and for that, I’m thankful. It occurs to me now that if I’d known the pain I would go through, I would have certainly crumbled under its weight. God’s provision, then, was to keep me walking in faith one step at a time.
It’s no different now. And as I approach my twenty-fourth birthday, I’m reminded that slowly moving ahead is still moving ahead.
But, can I be honest? I kind of hate it. See, it’s been 14 years since my parents split up; eight years since I first decided, “I won’t eat that.” And some days are still really hard. Some days, I sit here and I think, “God, how in the world am I not ‘fixed’ yet?!“
At 23 years and 356 days, I kind of thought I’d be less broken by now.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s that brokenness is the crack that screams, “I know I’m not enough.” And that’s a really great place to be.
It’s where I’ve camped out through much of my twenty-third year, chilling at the crossroads of “I’m clueless” and “I know what I need to do, but I don’t want to.” Despite that stubbornness, God has used this year to both humble and grow me.
I wish I could look ahead and see the “Progress” of Hannah. But it occurs to me now that maybe I’d miss her. Maybe, just like I did as an eight-year-old, I’m epitomizing some magic age as the year of life in which I’ll finally be godly enough, beautiful enough, worthy enough, smart enough, and just plain enough-enough.
And my heavenly Father is saying, “Child, you don’t need people or accomplishments to tell you who you are. By the blood of my Son, you are enough.”
“But Lord,” I say, “I want to be so much more. I want to be less selfish and more confident. I want to exude joy and expel the anxiety.”
These are good, healthy desires, ones He has placed in me. But I must embrace them as I simultaneously trust that He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion (Phil. 1:6).
I know that to be true because the Lord has been faithful in growing me thus far. He’s transformed a shell of a girl into a woman of God who imperfectly seeks Him with each breath. And this year has shown me His goodness more than any other year of my life.
So, I praise Him that I can enter 24 with my hands a little more open and my heart a little more exposed. The progress I’ve made in my twenty-third year, coupled with my own insufficiency, reminds me that any and all progress is by the goodness of God.
While I don’t know what this next year will bring, I do know that embracing my brokenness and running to the cross seems to be working thus far. I’m making progress. I’m falling more and more in love with Jesus. And He is enough for me.