When writer Lauren Windle felt convinced that she should give up praying and hoping for some of the things she wanted in life, someone asked her a very simple question and it completely changed her mindset.

It’s my birthday. Yay - congratulations to me! I get to eat cake like it has no calories and hardly do any work today. For many people, a year older isn’t a celebration at all. Instead, it’s another layer of weight on top of them, magnifying the pressure they feel to achieve their goals.

So many of us worry that by <insert age here>, we should; own a house, be married, have a promotion, be earning a certain amount, have children, have a dog, be flying in private jets, be able to dive into pools of money like Scrouge McDuck from that cartoon. Ok possibly not the last two. But the disappointment is real, and birthdays can just exacerbate it.

That’s where I was at anyway. Around my 31st birthday I was single, I didn’t have the job I wanted, I wasn’t happy with my friendships and I felt annoyed with God for making me wait so long for these things. I had decided to give up on ever having them and just take matters into my own hands, making the best of what I could find for myself.

I had decided to give up on ever having them and just take matters into my own hands, making the best of what I could find for myself.

Then I was at a Bible study when my friend, nine-months pregnant with her fourth baby, said: “What if God is about to abundantly bless you?”

I had spent so long feeling sorry for myself that I hadn’t considered a scenario where God was going to abundantly bless me, where he could be working for my good rather than denying me everything I wanted. I was in a rejection mindset, actively looking for ways I was failing and things I didn’t have.

So rather than assume I wasn’t good enough or God wasn’t on my side, I started to assume that God was about to bless me, even if I didn’t feel it yet. I started looking out for those blessings and when I felt there wasn’t movement in one area of my life, I focussed on the progress in others.

When I prayed for something and it didn’t happen, I no longer assumed it was because I wasn’t good enough, but that God had a different blessing in mind for my life.

Slowly my mindset shifted so I just felt grateful. When I prayed for something and it didn’t happen, I no longer assumed it was because I wasn’t good enough, but that God had a different blessing in mind for my life. We serve a God who loves to give, who works for the good of those who love him and abundantly blesses. The pain of our separation from him means that we don’t always feel that’s the case. But it’s worth resting in.

Shifting my focus from what I don’t have to gratitude for what I do and hope for the abundant blessing God has in the pipeline meant that I can confidently celebrate my birthday without feeling like I’m falling behind.

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