Well, I did it. I turned 3 decades old.

Someone last week asked me how I felt about three decades old. I told them, “I feel fat. I feel slow…” But then the truth came out: “I have never felt more joyful in my life.”

This year (29), I learned some amazing lessons that contribute to that joy. A lot of has to do with adjusting my attitude. But above all, I feel that I am the most joyful because I am learning what it is it to be loved.

It is both a profoundly life-alteringly simple truth that when applied, it penetrates to the deepest part of ones soul. The difficulty is that the world we live in is in an unending and constant mission to remove us from that reality.

And in place of that reality, we have put up images of who we want to portray to people to hide the unloveable-ness of our being.

The early memory of this manueaver was when I was in junior high, how I wanted so hard to be cool and liked (not sure much has changed..). I didn’t want to be picked on and I wanted to be valued and accepted. So I bought cool clothes, and listened to cool music, and did “cool stuff”.

Now that I’m 30, this masking of oneself does not really end. As we grow older, there waits for us an innumerable amount of attempts to define ourselves.

We use our academic performance, our familial wellbeing, or our financial prosperity. We are the “athletic” one, the “creative” one, or the “smart” one. We did this in ministry, care for this cause, align with these politics. We raise this kind of family and have these types of kids.

This is so clearly exemplified and exacerbated in an our age of social media where we tools at our very fingertips to cast a new identity of who we want to be portrayed as in an instant.

Imposters they all are-to somehow distract people from looking deeper within. To potentially see the possibility that perhaps we are unloveable drives the construction of these facades.

It is when the masks, the titles, the makeup, the clothes are all off that we are forced to answer the question of “who am I?”. It is the most common question that every human being asks yet whose most common answers fails in a way that gives us peace before we die.

And as a result of the commonly failed endeavor, people will sadly wear their masks into their grave.

I feel that at 30, I am learning to come out of hiding, take off the masks I want to put on, and learn to simply be loved.

I am learning that when my masks are off, when I am alone in the dark, the answer to the question of “Who am I?” is a resounding shout that “I am the beloved of God!”

Above the amassment of our titles and achievements or lack thereof, there remains a truth that God wished we knew about ourselves-it is that we are unequivocally and unconditionally loved by Him.

Every fabric of our being, enjoyed and delighted by him. It is the great sin of humanity that our gaze has been averted elsewhere to find meaning when its deepest answer lied in the eyes of most loving One in the universe.

It is this love that frees us from our masks. A love that empowers us to disassemble the imposters we have placed in lieu of our unloveableness. It is a love I am absolutely and certainly convinced is the answer to humanity’s greatest ailments.

It is for this lack of love that we are totally broken; and upon receiving it in every place of our hearts that we are totally free and alive.

So here’s to 30 years old.

May I be known until the day I day, not by the imposters I put up for people, but simply as one who is dearly loved and enjoyed by my Father in heaven. May this love be so alive and real in me that it overflows into the world that desperately needs it.