Several years ago, I went through a time of transition. Rather than taking off without makeup to run to Wal-Mart as I have always done, I turned into the clone of a 17-year-old girl, only with a few more wrinkles and a lot more anti-aging cream. Also, like a teen, I started primping, fixing, smoothing, and shaping and wondered what I would do when I turn totally grey.
During this season, the deterioration of my physical body felt like a huge emotional burden as the world’s message, that only the young and physically perfect are valuable, weighed heavily on my middle-age ego.
I called a girlfriend to ask if she was feeling the same, “Oh, boy! I can relate!” she said. My question sparked a half-hour discussion about floundering through the transition to life’s middle years.
Making Your Days Count
After a few months of grieving the loss of the past, God revealed something beautiful to me about waving goodbye to physical youth: Even though the deterioration of our earthly bodies often feels like a hindrance, it is a priceless gift, a gift that reminds us that this life is passing away—and that heaven is a reality. Therefore, the passing of time is God’s personal invitation to focus on what is truly important, such as developing a stronger relationship with Him, and living with intentionality and purpose.
Some people who are deeply impacted by the loss of physical youth finally follow the dreams God placed in their hearts years before. Some decide the career they have been chasing now needs to take a back seat to a calling to serve God and others in a new way.
Unfortunately, people who insist on holding onto the past as they age may fall into the world’s ways of worshipping youth, rather than taking care of their spirits, seeking holiness, and making an impact on the lives of others. They may fall prey to sacrificing the relationships dearest to them as they try to recapture the past. However, when we have a godly perspective, there is nothing like the stripping away of our physical props to enlarge our hearts to what is truly valuable.
Focus on What Matters Most
In 2004, my 86-year-old grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia. During the weeks before his death, a tenderness settled into his eyes and a loving spirit embodied him like I’d never seen before. He hugged tighter, smiled wider, and laughed more. As his physical body failed and heaven became more of a reality, his heart enlarged to love. In a way that no one in my family could have anticipated, his greatest loss produced a greater virtue.
I believe this is how God wants the passing of our days and the loss of physical youth to impact us. He wants both to cause us to narrow our focus to what matters most—loving Him and loving others.
He also wants us to remember that we are just getting started. As one 50-year-old woman stated, we need to remember that the passing of time, “. . . isn’t the beginning of an end. It is the start of a new beginning.”
Ah, yes. For all believers in Christ, no matter what age, the passing of time isn’t the end; it’s the beginning. We are just getting started because we will live forever in heaven. May you be encouraged by these thoughts as you navigate through the years.
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