Every year I have a birthday. So do you. None of us can help it, even if we don’t want to be reminded, or would rather not celebrate it. And, through no fault of my own, my birthday was this week. Tuesday. (Pop it in your diary for next year, 25 April). As one card I received reminded me, “Another birthday? Just remain cool. Remember you’ve done this before. A LOT!” I have. As one of my children told me, “don’t think of it as being 45, think of it more like reaching level 45 in the game of life. It’s something of an achievement!”

Something of achievement?

Mmmm. That goes with the odd ‘congratulations on your birthday’ messages that I got on Facebook. Congratulations? All I did was live another year. I don’t remember it being too difficult to stay alive. I ate, drank, worked and slept and a few other things, but I wouldn’t have said that staying alive in itself was a real achievement, worthy of congratulating. But, I guess the older I get the more I should celebrate having lived another year. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy birthdays, and celebrating them, but it’s funny how we congratulate one another over things over which we have no control.

In a similar vein:  my kids all vie for who is the tallest.

They puff their chests out (as if that is going to make them taller) longing to be a tiny bit taller than the other. But being tall isn’t something over which they have any control at all. Sure, they can all sit up a bit straighter, but that doesn’t make them taller. Short of putting themselves on the rack (and there have been times…), they have no ability whatsoever in making themselves any taller or shorter.

So, what are some of the things that we do have control over; which are worth celebrating. The Old Testament prophet Micah hits the nail on the head:

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. Micah 6.3 (The Message)

I’m not getting any taller. But I am getting older. Sorry to say, so are you. But the Lord’s told us what to focus on – not our age, IQ, height or what we do or don’t have. Live fairly, justly and humbly. Full stop. That’s something we can control, celebrate together and congratulate each other when we see it happening.

Friday Blog | On reaching the next level