In fact, it’s been an emotional enemy I’ve fought since turning 40 a few years back with expensive face creams, mud masks, and a consumption of an inordinate amount of water. Underwires and orthopedic inserts helping to maintain required “lifts”, and Spanx becoming part of my life’s narrative.
Yet it comes. Sometimes feeling like it’s coming faster than I’d prefer and most often reminding me of its persistent presence when I look in the mirror...
But something struck me the other day. Aging shouldn’t be resisted. Not all are given the opportunity to age. In a world where disease and tragedy continue to shorten the lifespans of far too many, (and far too often), to grow old is something to be valued.
Aging is in fact,
a gold paper wrapped, silver bow tied,
The increase in years often seem to make one aware of the brevity of life. Something happens mid stream that causes one to wonder what they are doing with their lives. If they get to write the script from where they are now - to where they want to go - what would be written?
King Solomon struggled through these tough questions in the book of Ecclesiastes. Writing sentences like, “I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.” (1:13) Noting that the more one grows in age, and thereby wisdom, we become even more aware of the evil that is around us. And that friends, can be a heavy load to bear.
Solomon went on to write that everything he had ever accomplished for himself based on the world’s version of success was meaningless. Whether it was work or pleasure, great riches or even more worldly wisdom, it brought great emptiness with it. I’ve so been there. The “What am I doing here?” question has plagued me for many years.
However, the gift of aging also extends to us the invitation to live the lives that God pre-planned for us when He created us. In Solomon’s final conclusion, he wrote, “... Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Eccl. 12:13-14.
In my youth, I made many regrettable decisions. When I find myself struggling with aging, the enemy loves to bring those decisions up and taunt me that I could have had an entirely different life had I only made different choices. To that end, Proverbs 25:7 “...Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth..” and vs. 11 “...for the honor of your name, O LORD, forgive my many, many sins.”, were both included (again) in my prayer time this morning. Not that I need to seek the Lord’s repeated forgiveness for sins already covered by His blood, but for the comfort it brings me to know it still is.
As I look toward my future and embrace the gift given to me to continue to age, I want to listen to the warning of King Solomon and live the rest of my days “Fearing God and obeying His commands…”.
If I live afraid of aging, I will miss the blessing of today. So I’ve determined instead to inhale the love of Christ and exhale my eternal purpose. I want each conversation I have to be seasoned with grace. I want the people put in my path to know their value both to me, and to God. I want to look at the future with both the hope and expectation that God isn’t finished with me yet.
I want to age with purpose. Not let one wrinkle encamp around my eyes without having been brought there by a smile. Not let one fear hold me back from wrapping my arms around the broken.
Yes, I am aging. So are you. Let’s determine to write the rest of our life’s novels with an unwavering faith and hope fueled intention. God’s purposes and plans for our lives greatly exceed our own. Press in. Listen for His instruction, and let’s age well together.