Aging in Years, Not in Spirit

Remember how exciting it was to get older? For those of us who had older siblings, we eagerly awaited when we could do what they do, stay up as late as they did. You looked forward to turning 16 and getting your driver’s license. You looked forward to voting at 18. You waited expectantly for your 21st birthday, the year you become sophisticated enough to actually participate in a toast at a wedding.

When did “growing up” become “getting older”? Soon after college, I started to feel old. It’s embarrassing to admit because I know, intellectually, I am not old. It’s okay to laugh, but I know you’re following my train of thought. My heart feels
old, fears the arrival and passage of another year.

My daughter laid her head down in my lap yesterday, large brown eyes seeking out my love, husband kissing her smiling face. It was one of those pause moments when time funnels down into a compact instant, years of childhood crowding into the front of my memory, clashing with projections of the future. How did I get here? Wasn’t I just this daughter? Suddenly I’m imagining my daughter’s wedding (of course I don’t look any older in this brief flash ahead). As my husband says, “Once you have children, you’re old. You’re in the middle slot of “parent”,
your children on one side of you and your parents on the other.”

I used to be young and in love. Now, I’ve been in love for eight years and have two children and a heap of laundry to prove it. I used to be young and active. Now, I have two children and a little extra around the hips. I used to be young and energetic. Now, I have two children and…you get the point. Shouldn’t I have done more with life by now? Maybe it’s the weight of wisdom rolling back and forth in my brain, and not my lack of sleep, that is giving me this headache.

As a Christian, how am I supposed to go through the aging of life? How do I recognize the reality of wrinkles forming around my eyes, but reject this cultural hatred of being old. I’ve bought the lies of this secular age about being old. Old equals useless. Old equals unimportant. Old equals ugly. Old carries expectations that I can’t meet – accomplishments, accolades, prestige, success.

To refocus my eyes on TRUTH, I open that Good Book.

 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;  13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,  15 proclaiming, “The LORD is
upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Isaiah 46:4   4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Luke 2:36-38,  36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,  37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night
and day, fasting and praying.  38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Genesis 21:2   2Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.

Acts 2:17-18  17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

Ecclesiastes 3:11   11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Revelation 21:5  5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

If eternity starts right now, then I am no older today than yesterday. Isn’t that the biblical perspective? Thanks to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, those who live in him live forever, also to rise from the dead. So my body in this world ages. But there is a new heavens and a new earth coming in which death has no part and aging is irrelevant. In this life we are restrained by this thing called time. It passes and its passing does things to us. Hopefully, as it passes, I grow wise and not just old. I grow empowered by His Spirit. I mission for Him. And when this body dies, it rises again new.