Major Milestones

Milestone: 1. A stone set up to mark the distance, in miles, to a particular place. 2. An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

“Teach us to realise the brevity of life and to number our days so that we may grow and gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:1-2

Turning 40 is an important milestone in life. I think it’s considered important because it’s potentially half-way through your life. It makes you sound grown up! Last month a friend turned 50. I won’t say that having friends turning 50 makes me feel old, because today another friend turned 80!! Now that’s a milestone. Next year my first-born will turn 18. Another milestone that marks independence. A milestone for him and also for me.

I was thinking about how we celebrate the major milestones in our life, how we celebrate the big things. Births. Deaths. Marriages. New houses. New jobs. New cars. Finishing school. Graduating from University. We love to celebrate major achievements.

When I run in fun runs, each kilometer is recognised by a marker of some sort – it’s a way of keeping track of how far you’ve run and how far you’ve still got to go. Sometimes they are easy to miss, especially if you’re having a good run. Other times, you see the marker up ahead and groan when you realise how far you’ve still got to go until the finish line!

In 2010 I celebrated my 40th birthday with a wonderful party with close friends and family. One of my presents was a book titled “Things to do before you’re 40”. Some of the suggestions are so risque I can’t even write them down, let alone suggest actually doing them! But here’s some of my favourites:

  • Build a snowman (done)
  • Drive a tractor (done)
  • Have a baby (done)
  • Google yourself on the internet (ok, I admit, done)
  • Get into a taxi (cab) and say “follow that car”! (not done, yet)
  • Ride an animal (done, more than once)
  • Streak across the ground at a major sporting event! (yeah, right!! NO!)
  • Cook a three course meal from scratch (done, not necessarily successfully!)
  • Push yourself to the limits of your physical endurance (done – 1/2 marathon)
  • Audition for something (not done but I want to)
  • Fire a gun (not done)
  • Have a ruthless clean out of all your belongings (done, more than once)
  • Make at least one friend for life (done)
  • Tell someone you love them (done)
  • Be a mentor to someone younger than you (done)
  • Give to charity (done)
  • Stand up for what you believe in (done)
  • Forgive someone (done)

Some of those things are big things to celebrate, but others are not. So, what about the little milestones? Shouldn’t we also celebrate those? Absolutely yes!

As part of my journey with God, I believe it is important to look back over my life for the significant faith milestones that should be celebrated. There have been many moments in my life that have had a profound impact on me, causing significant changes to my growth and development in my Christian faith and I want to remember these and celebrate them. There have been times of enlightenment. Times of joy. Decision making times. But also times of difficulty and discouragement and disillusionment. Times of sadness and sorrow and despair. A recent milestone occurred a few months ago when I decided to start trusting God again. All of these times have helped make me the person I am today and by celebrating these faith milestones, I’m saying “this moment is significant and important and worthy to be celebrated”.

The bible says we should number or ‘record’ our days. I don’t care if I never achieve the list of suggestions in the “Things to do before you’re 40” book, but I do care if I go through day after day not remembering to celebrate the little things. I hope and pray that I can use those little achievements and accomplishments to grow in wisdom. As I grow in wisdom I hope and pray that I might be able to place milestone markers along my journey that will act as a reference point to those who are following behind me. I hope and pray these milestone markers are reference points that point others towards God. If I can do that, then that will be my greatest achievement.

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