I'm starting to feel old. A new couple came to our Sunday school class a few weeks ago, and Brian and I were introducing ourselves before class started. I asked the girl a question, and she replied, "Yes ma'am." ?!?! MA'AM??? Seriously? I thought I was going to faint. Before I could even think I had replied, "Please don't call me ma'am" and she blushed and apologized, said she was just in the habit of it, and I realized I had probably embarrassed her. But it pained me deeply to be called "ma'am" by someone I considered my colleague. It just became clear that she thought I was way older than her. Which in reality, I probably was. She had just finished college. I took my hurt pride on to Sunday school and reasoned that it was just that I was pregnant, that if I had my "normal figure" I wouldn't have appeared so old. HA.
Then on Monday, Brian's employee Clancy, and a guy I would consider a friend, came to our house. I asked if he had had a good weekend, and he said, "Yes ma'am." Okay. This was getting to be a trend. Again, my gut reaction before I had a chance to think it through was, "Please, PLEASE don't call me ma'am. I'm not that old." And I got my pride hurt once again. Clancy is 21. Not that younger than me. Just. . . .well. . . okay, ten years younger. Ouch. That realization stung. I am TEN years older than Brian's employee.
I found myself starting to look at people's birthdates on Facebook and trying to figure out who was older than me, and who was younger. I was shocked to see some people who I thought were "my age", especially from Sunday school and church, who were several years younger. I had no idea that Brian and I were some of the oldest people in our class.
I was feeling a little down and honestly, confused about, well then how old am I?? Really? Am I young still? Am I middle-age? Getting older? What stage of life am I in? It was hitting me that I wasn't necessarily in the same age category that I had originally thought of myself. After doing some deep digging into my psyche, I realized that I feel SO young. I like to feel young. I like to be the youngest in the crowd. I was raised a youngest child, and I like that role. You don't have to take responsibility so much when you're the youngest. I also like for someone else to drive, so that I can just look out the window and enjoy the scenery. I like to not even buy junk food at the grocery store, so that I don't have to display self-control later. Someone else has made the choices for me at that point. I like to remain "blissfully unaware" as much as possible. To a fault.
Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. There was a time for me to be young and irresponsible. Now is not that time. There was a time for me to be concerned about me, myself and I first and foremost. Now is not that time either. This is a time when God is using me to glorify Himself and His strength, not myself and my strength. This is a time when He is shaping me into the LADY (not girl) He wants me to be. This is a time for me to be the teacher, not the student. The mother, not the child. The nurturer, not the nurtured. It's a time of dying to self, of leaving behind the youthfulness and blissfully unawareness of yesterday, and taking responsibility for living like God wants me to. For acting like an adult who has known the Lord for 24 years. For discipling others. For being an example. For doing what I know I ought to do. It's time to grow up.
I just hope I don't look the part. If you see me, please. . . unless you're 12 or under. . . don't call me ma'am. :)