February 23, 2012
How to Stay Young
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10, NIV).
Friend to Friend
In April, I will celebrate my 61st birthday! Honestly, I didn’t think I would live this long. Seriously! Where have the years gone? It seems every day of life has been jam-packed full of both wonderful and horrible things I wondered if I would survive and yet, here I am, going strong and wondering why there always seems to be some kind of helicopter still landing in my life.
I have some advice for you, girlfriend. If you are a young woman, it really is true that you should cherish every day and every moment with your friends and family because the older you get, the quicker the days fly by. I look at my children who are married and having children of their own and wonder where all of those years went. How did this happen?
If you are an older woman, take a deep breath and celebrate the fact that you are breathing. I believe if you are alive, God has a purpose and plan for your life. Give yourself a pat on the back for your survival skills. Take a few moments to reflect on your life and don’t get hung up on what might have been. Celebrate what is and what will be.
I have discovered some wonderful advantages to growing older and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Each chapter of life seems to grow more exciting and I keep wondering when that “slow down” thing is going to kick in. I am no longer overly concerned with a lot of things that once kept me awake at night. There is great freedom in having paid a lot of “life dues” because I have already been there, done that and don’t really care about getting the T-shirt.
I can say with authority that you probably will live through that crisis you think will be the death of you. What defines you today may very well seem ridiculous in ten years or even ten days. Stupidity will give way to wisdom learned the hard way. I now give myself permission to do or not do things I once would have felt compelled to do simply because it was someone’s ridiculous expectation … not God’s plan. My audience has certainly changed over the years from the people who love to leer at me through the glass bowl in which I live to running the race of life for an audience of One.
Yes, there are moments when I have made a frenzied and desperate attempt to stay young. But then, why would I want to do that? There are many years of my life I really do not want to revisit and there is so much of my life now that I love. During one of those youth seeking moments, I came across the following list of ways to stay young and found it quite interesting.
How to Stay Young
1. Throw out non-essential numbers such as your age, weight and height.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. If you really need a grouch, there are probably family members to fill that need.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Just never let the brain idle.
4. Enjoy the simple things. When the children are young, that is all you can afford. When they are in college that is all you can afford. When they are grown, and you are on retirement, that is all you can afford.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in the store by your distinctive laughter.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person that is with us our entire life is ourselves.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies or whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country - but not guilt.
10. Tell the people you love how much you love them every chance you get. Never assume they know.
11. Don't worry about things you cannot change or do anything about. Accept them and move on.
12. Read more and dust less.
13. Spend more time with your family and friends and less time working.
14. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. Recognize these moments now and cherish them.
15. Do not "save" anything. Use your good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the next blossom of flowers you see.
16. Wear your best outfit to the market.
17. Don't save your good perfume for only special occasions. Use it even if you are going shopping or just to the bank.
18. "Someday" and "one of these days" should vanish from your vocabulary. If it is worth seeing or hearing or doing, go and see or hear or do it now.
What about you? Are you living each day to the fullest? Jesus is all about living an abundant life in the here and now … whatever stage of life that may be for you. Jesus came so that we can live abundantly and eternally. Eternity began the moment you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Father, I want to live life to the fullest. I want everything you have for me and don’t want to miss a single blessing or trial that is for my good. Please help me keep my eyes on You and celebrate every day and all that it holds. I trust You, Lord, to work all things together for my good and Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Who or what is stealing the joy from your life?
What circumstance are you facing that you need to see through God’s eyes and boldly trust Him for?
Look around. What can you find in your life to celebrate?
Are you living out God’s purpose for your life or are you bowing to the wrong audience and listening to the wrong voices?
Today, make the decision to celebrate life and all God has for you.
Read Romans 8:28 and know God is at work to make your life exactly what He wants it to be.
More from the Girlfriends
As a pastor’s wife, I have talked with so many women who feel as if they were worthless, a freakish accident. Listen, my friend, you were planned and wanted by God. God is crazy about you and wants an intimate relationship with you. I pray that you will see yourself in the eyes of God, a chosen child. Need help? Check out one of Mary’s MP3 downloads, Come as You Are to discover how to see yourself through the eyes of God.
Be sure to check out the FREE MP3son Mary’s website.
Need help getting the Word of God into your life?Check out Mary’s Weekly Online Bible Study, When I Am Afraid, to learn how to face, deal with and surrender your fears to God.
Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure?Get a copy of our new book, Trusting God.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Thursday, 23 February 2012.