In the Bible, the 50th year is known as the year of Jubilee. Every seven days, every seven years marked a sabbath, a time of rest. When seven years of seven hit, year forty-nine was a sabbath, and they marked the 50th year as a double-sabbath. A significant marker in the culture of the people!
So, loosely adopting this notable year of 50, I set out to celebrate my 50th birthday all year! (idea credit to Terry Maldonado)
Celebration commenced all year long while Dave and I cruised to Alaska and had the awesome experiences of Ididerot Dog-Sledding, cold-water snorkeling, and whale watching, with daily inspirational messages by Bob Goff, author of Love Everyone Always. With my work, I traveled to Italy and saw the Doors of Jubilee in Rome, and had a Turkish breakfast in Central Asia (the breakfast marking thirty years since my first International trip at age 20!). In Nashville, we splurged on second row seats to the Sugarland concert. And, for the first time in my life I signed up for Executive Coaching experiences with Novus Global through the STORY Conference.
I marked the year with some art. Significant to one living in Nashville, TN, I spent the evening at the Country Music Hall of Fame creating my own poster at the Hatch Print Shop.
AARP kept sending me stuff, so I got this idea of having a new “senior picture” taken, so I scheduled a photo shoot (@jenjacobowitzphotography). The family has been informed that when I die, this is the picture to be framed and displayed at the memorial service. Don’t go searching the bottom of boxes for pictures that are from high school or only half good. This picture will be close enough to whatever the time of death ends up being to count as “old.”
My word for the year was “BOLD” and there were moments during the year when I wasn’t sure I was living up to it or into it. But, then I quit my job effective December 31. I announced this to friends on instagram and a friend commented, “this is a big and bold move.” While another person thought the comment was too pointed, I on the other hand, rejoiced! I ended BIG on my word for the year! Way to go! (I think?). Today marks my last day of the role I have held for 4.5 years.
Unemployment with no plans for what’s next is not the exclamation point for 2018 that I was expecting. When you have less life ahead of you than what you have already lived, a career change doesn’t seem like your best idea. I wish I could say it is exhilarating to think of the future as a blank canvas, ready for a brand new painting, but I have been in this transition before, and it wasn’t all that great. So, while I feel that I ought to be more confident because I know myself better, my experiences are more vast and my gifts further developed, I am honestly more fearful than hopeful. The landscape looks a little desolate to me - more empty than promising.
When you get right down to the significance of the Jubilee Year in the Bible, celebration is just part of it. Jubilee was a year set aside that belonged to the Lord. It was a year the people were reminded of their redemption that could come only from Him. They were released from old ways of living that had tied them down and hindered them, and they were gifted new freedom to follow him to new places.
Redemption remembered and anew came through my reflections during the year. I went back and looked at journals and pictures and keepsakes. And while my Enneagram #1 was thinking “this ain’t much” the Lord showed me as he would any of us, that there is more wonder and beauty and growth that happens in our lives than we realize. What we might see as incidental and inconsequential, he sees as our divine life in action. Along the way I uncovered regrets; things I wish I had not said or done to others. Mistakes in direction and attitude along the way. And while I grieved some of these for the first time, the Lord, once again, reminded me of my own personal redeeming through the sacrificial blood of Christ and the Cross. Forgiveness. I was reminded of my need for Jesus as my Savior and Redeemer and Friend.
Releasing came to mind thinking about the future. The Lord asked me clearly, “what do you need to let go of as you move forward?” And he followed up with “what do you want to let go of?” See, the answer to both questions is the same list, and I know what is on the list. There are ways of thinking and living that I have insisted on holding onto that are more life-sucking and worldly than life-giving and Christ-like. So I have been thinking about what do I want to do from here on out? How do I want to live? And the desire of my heart was clear.
Free is how I want to live. In the last three months of Jubilee while contemplating the future, God showed me the ways in which I have been weighed down by lack of confidence in myself, lack of belief in Him, and the fear of missing the mark of my calling in life - and there’s more. But here at the end of Jubilee (what turned out to be a working rather than resting revelation of sorts) I have clarity on what I need to lay down and let go of and I am prepared and prayerful to do just that. (I’m hoping this is the maturity that others speak of - because this part of Jubilee was a lot of hard, personal work!)
The Year of Jubilee is complete for me. Tomorrow is a new year and a new day.
Two new words emerged as gifts for the new year: Grace and Light.
And here is what I think I know…
As a girl who has wanted nothing more than to be good her whole life --good for God and good at things and good to people - the fact is, the virtue and value of goodness is no match for the greatness and glory of God’s Grace.
So here’s to 2019 and the rest of life….More Grace. More Light.