Choosing the journey in growing old.
How we grow old is more important than how old we grow. Click To Tweet Let’s face it, we either grow old or we die young. What other alternatives are there to growing old?!
There are, however, things we can do to help us (and others) on this journey. We get to choose how we journey this path. Nobody forces us to be in a certain camp of growing old. It’s our choice!
I’m a senior citizen – and by some standards, I’ve been one for a while. Thinking through this process has thrown me for a loop sometimes; and other times I forget how old I am. Truthfully, growing old is harder than I thought it would be. I thought that when I got old, I wasn’t going to hobble when I first got up, have trouble sleeping at night, or be forgetful. I’m sure you know how well that’s gone. I’ve learned that growing old is not for the faint of heart.
There was something else I was never going to do when I got older. I wasn’t going to be a Shaker or a Quaker. I’m working on that, and I know it begins in my mind.
3 Types of Growing Old folks
There are three types of senior citizens (those growing older).
- Movers. These folks are active and alert, and have their emotions in control.
- Shakers. These folks have slowed down; they sit on the sideline and observe. Their engagement is minimal.
- Quakers. They feel their best days are over. They are disengaged. Life is overwhelming and bogs them down. They are moody and pout a lot.
Wisdom on growing old
Ecclesiastes 12 talks about growing old.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come and the years approach of which you will say, “I find no pleasure in them,” before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is darkened, and the clouds return after the rain, [vision fades] on the day the keepers of the house tremble and the strong men stoop, [becoming bent over] when those grinding cease because they are few [loss of teeth] and those watching through windows see dimly, [vision] when the doors to the street are shut and the sound of the mill fades away [hearing], when one rises at the sound of a bird [wake up before dawn] and all the daughters of song grow faint, [hearing is gone] when men fear the heights and dangers of the road, when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry shrivels— [loss of agility and balance] for then man goes to his eternal home and mourners walk the streets.
Remember Him before the silver cord is snapped [spine marrow OR tongue; speech] and the golden bowl is crushed, [brain matter] before the pitcher is shattered at the spring [arteries] and the wheel is broken at the well, [veins] before the dust returns to the ground from which it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it. [burial of body]
God tells us to remember Him while we are young so we can face growing old with dignity and with faith.Remember that, for the Christian, there is no retirement from the Christian life. We are only reassigned. Click To Tweet Remember that, for the Christian, there is no retirement from the Christian life. We are only reassigned.
Growing old with dignity
Here’s how to respond to that reassignment.
- Do not become complacent. Do not succumb to the idea that you are no longer valuable. This will make you lukewarm and out of touch. We have more time now for Bible study and prayer. There is more time for visiting others, for bringing encouragement and sharing the faithfulness of God. We have had more experience walking with God; we can recount His faithfulness more than younger folks can because we’ve been walking with God for more years. Tell your stories about God’s faithfulness!
- Do not become inflexible. There are constant changes in our world and in our lives. We must model wisdom and discernment. Recognize that theology and methodology does not change. Yet we must not hang onto the “good ole’ days” because when we do that, we only remember the parts that were good.
- Do not become critical. When we feel unimportant and insignificant, we become critical. Focus on things that fall in the Philippians 4:8 category:
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Don’t give yourself over to a life of worry. Worry affects us physically and mentally. Recount the promises of God. Psalms 46 tell us that He is our Refuge; He is our Strength. We do not need to be afraid.
- Finish Well!! There are many examples in scripture of people who started well but did not finish strong. Some of these are Solomon, King Saul, and Judas Iscariot. Recognize that our reassignment from Monday through Friday 8-5 is a place where we can still shine for Jesus. With that your focus, you can finish well.
I owe recognition to my husband Dave. The idea for this blog came from notes I took from one of his sermons. He has graciously allowed me to use these notes in this post.