Free From the Fear of Growing Old(er)

Author: Brenda Pace, Author of "Journey of a Military Wife"

Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Embrace the Process

1Lt Lynette Bate, Lead engineer, Ground Station, SBIRS Wing Los Angeles Air Force Base, AFB, CA Space Missile Systems Center “center” watches her daughter Jessie train with her father. 23 MAR 10 Jessie is a 2nd Dan in Taekwondo. She was one of only three fighters selected to qualify for the 2010 youth Olympic Games to be held this summer in Singapore. U.S. Air Force Photo by Lou Hernandez/ Released

On the recent occasion of turning ahem, cough, cough older, I revisited goals I set several years ago when I could no longer deny the mantle of “seasoned woman” was mine to wear.

Because of the younger demographic of military communities in which I move, this all of a sudden, I’m a Titus II woman happened much earlier than I expected.

I remember commenting to a friend that I had been described as a “seasoned woman” more than I care to count. She replied that it meant I am “spicy” and assured me that was a good thing. (Along with growing older, I’m also working on trusting comments made by friends.)

Something I do trust is God’s Word, that has much to say about growing old. I’ve struggled with the fear that age means irrelevancy and uselessness.

Identity & God’s Word

However, Psalm 92:12-15 declares,

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

The scriptural principle in Psalm 92 is that I am to celebrate the process of growing older.

Say what?

Yes, I can even increase in usefulness to God’s Kingdom and grow stronger because of my deep spiritual roots! Did you know that age makes other things decay, but age makes a palm tree flourish? In fact, the best fruit comes from an older tree! Talk about good news!

To those of you still in the prime of youth reading these words who think this message is not for you, I remind you that you are who you are becoming. In other words, the choices you make today will make a difference in how you embrace the process of growing older. Life is an aging process and it’s never too early to look to the future.

Here are some things that have helped me embrace the inevitability of age.

How to Be Free From the Fear of Growing Old(er):

  • Study scripture on the topic of age. The Bible has much to say about growing old—and discounting Ecclesiastes 12:3, “Your body will grow feeble, your teeth will decay, and your eyesight fail…” it’s mostly positive! Consider the lives of women like Sarah, Naomi, Elizabeth, and Anna. These women served God with enthusiasm and purpose as they advanced in years.
  • Establish and revisit goals. I think in terms of the future and ask myself what do I want to be or do in five, ten, or twenty years from now? What will I regret if I don’t pursue? What will keep me healthy in spirit, mind, and body as the years progress?
  • Invest in eternity. The things that are eternal include people and God’s Word. Relationships are more important to me now than ever before. I pray for opportunities to share the Truth of God’s Word through my words and actions. I want to be known as a woman who loved God and others well.
  • Remember that spiritual gifts do not cease. The words of Billy Graham ring true, “There is no retirement mentioned in the Bible.” In a spiritual sense a woman’s (true) work is never done!
  • Challenge yourself to keep moving forward. Scripture promises we can go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7) and glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I choose to be a lifelong learner, challenging myself to keep growing in areas of life and godliness.

Your Turn:

Check out what these Scriptures declare about aging:

  • Proverbs 16:31
  • Isaiah 46:4
  • Job 12:12
  • Psalm 71:18
  • Titus 2:3-5

Also take time to consider your future self. What kind of “old woman” do you want to become?

Prayer:

Lord, release me from any fear of growing older. Help me look to the future with courage, knowing that even to my old age you will be the same. And even to my graying years you will bear me (Isaiah 46:4). Use me to bless others and come to the grave in full vigor of life (Job 5:26). Amen

Additional Resources:

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham

Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford

Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model by Susan Hunt

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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