I’d have to say that this birthday is a really special one, though it is also one that brings much reflection. I’ll tell you why.

My wife brought me a nice hot cup of coffee when I was in bed this morning, and then when the door opened, I called for my son and he came toddling and woddling and bobbling to the bed, smiling and giggling. That, in itself, is a big enough birthday present for me. I can’t be more thankful for having him in our lives, and each day our hearts overflow with joy when we see him. So that’s why this birthday feels so special.

However, I mentioned that this birthday is cause for reflection. With each passing year and season, and with each milestone, I think there’s something inside me that wants to do something big, something lasting, something important. Perhaps that yearning is more of a drive to be known, rather than a drive to actually help. I am confident that we can do something lasting and important without having to go past our family circle, for isn’t being a good husband or father one of the most important and lasting things a man can be?

I think I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing myself with other people (regardless of gender) and their ages and their accomplishments. The inherent problem with this is that the majority of people I end up envying are people in the news or media spotlight, for which they either deserve acclaim or praise because they really have done something big. I think I forget that there are millions of guys out there who are simply going about their lives in an ordinary way, and that’s not to say that being “ordinary” is small thinking or small dreaming. Perhaps being ordinary can lead to contentment, and being godly while being content bring great joy. Maybe that’s the secret: to yearn for success at everything on the everday and ordinary level.

Do I really want to be the 33-year-old CEO of a company? Is that what I truly desire? Most likely not. Do I really want to be known as the 33-year-old real estate mogul? Certainly not. So what is it that I want to be known for?

I’d have to say that right now, I think the sentence that makes the most sense for me is this one: I want to be known as a God-centered man who lives his life of faith for his wife and son, and brings joy to those around him as an overflow of the joy he has inside in Christ. Hmmm…..that’s an interesting statement, isn’t it?

Envying other’s success is a common trap, and I’ve fallen prey countless times, and I’m sure I haven’t been cured today. Yet, I do think that having made that statement above about my true desire helps bring things into perspective. The more content I am with the things closest to me (God, family), the clearer my perspectives become.