Society does everything in its power to sway us from embracing the concept of aging. Look at all the "anti-aging" products out there. We have everything from wrinkle cream, hair dye, surgical procedures aimed at nipping, tucking and zapping away those stubborn pieces that remind us and others of our dissipating youth. Images that flash across screens, billboards, pages of magazines do not reflect the images we regularly see walking down the street, entering the library or strolling down the aisles of grocery stores perusing the latest "100 calorie only" products. Instead they are airbrushed illusions that beckon to our subconscious to partake in the endless race for youth. But are we meant to run backward, struggling to hold on to the past and make it the present? Or should we rather embrace the present and with a discerning acceptance look forward to what our lives have shaped for us in terms of the course of our futures?
Much of the "anti-aging" propaganda that exists centers around our inherent fear of death. Death is that looming dark mysterious end that takes no prisoners but engulfs us all into its abyss. It cares not whether you are rich or poor, black or white. Everyone succumbs to the reality of our bodies simply getting too tired to go on, our hearts no longer strong enough to pump and circulate life throughout our fragile forms. Everyone dies. But few want to.
The glorious thing about being a Christian is that I don't fear death. No, I'm not running towards it with open arms, but I don't have the fear I once had. There's a terror that can invade one's innermost thoughts of the unknown. But when one knows God that all changes. We can be assured that when our time comes we will finally be at union with our Maker. The peace and love that we experience from the Spirit within us during our lifetimes is just a fraction of what we will experience when we finally break through to the other side and, spirit to Spirit, meet our Father. I know all will be well with my soul. I have experienced enough...not just read or learned, but experienced spiritually enough of God, to know there is nothing to fear.
So death aside, what is my personal take on aging? Personally, I wouldn't trade the knowledge and wisdom I've acquired as the years have passed by. God, by His Grace, has opened me up to truths and experiences that in my youth I would have never have considered nor sought. We all go through that immature period of ego, where Self reigns and eternal truths go out the window as we seek not spiritual things but that which gratifies our five senses. At least I did! As time has passed I have acquired less of a taste for the carnal things of life and more of a deep thirst for the things of God. For His presence, His truths. I wouldn't trade that journey for an immortal life steeped in a shallow existence of materialism. I feel, if we are wise, aging brings much enlightenment and embracing change, not trying to prevent it, brings a satisfaction and growth like no other.
So as I find myself aging am I running for the bottle of hair dye whose color most appeals to me? Do I scurry down the isles feverishly looking for moisturizer and other skin products that will keep my appearance akin to what I looked like when I was 20? Well, honestly, yes, I've dyed my hair and yes, I am not an extremely vain person but I try not to fry my skin in the sun. Let's not bring on age prematurely! But I don't fear the wrinkles when they do come, and the gray hair, well, though I'm not keen on it I am reminded of a verse I came across recently in proverbs:
Proverbs 16:21 Gray hair is a crown of glory, it is gained in a righteous life.
My study Bible didn't elaborate more on that verse but I'd like to think gray hair is a symbol of aging. And when, as we grow older, we do it to God's glory, our age indeed symbolizes a life of righteousness. In my next thirty years, I plan on continuing on the amazing journey I have not too long ago begun. A journey that leads me to lose the attachments in life my first 30 years have acquired, baggage that weighs me down spiritually, and live progressively more free in Christ seeking more opportunities to bring Him glory and serve those among me in His name.
My prayer is that for whatever time God has left for me here on earth, every beat of my heart, every breath that I take, shall be devoted to Him. It took me nearly 30 years to awaken to God's Spirit within my heart. When I finally did, it was truly a transforming process as I was bathed in His love, grace and His peace that is, indeed, beyond anything that can be obtained on earth. I will waste no more time, as I did in my youth, clinging to that which is fleeting and temporary but instead, seeking to know that which is eternal. May we all slowly free ourselves from the clutches of commercialism, materialism and culture and set our eyes on God.
What are your thoughts on aging? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments section!