Friends told me that 40 is the age when a woman's body starts to change (again!). Changes like these: Fine lines deepen, skin sags, eyesight worsens, and it's harder than ever to stay thin. I still never thought it would happen to me. Then I turned 40. Everything that was predicted happened, along with something I didn't expect - for the first time I was acutely aware of my mortality. Of course, I always knew intellectually that I would die one day because everyone dies. But until I saw evidence of my body degenerating it was hard to believe that it would really happen.
There's something inside of us that pushes back against getting older. We search for anything that promises a fountain of youth. Some may even enter into a midlife crisis. I'm a mom in my 40's with young children. And I envied the young moms around me in their late 20's who would get to see their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren grow up - God willing. I became jealous of the accomplishments of younger women - women who had done more than me, faster. Age became something I resented, and I started to fight it. Maybe I'm the one who was entering a midlife crisis.
Youth is an obsession in our culture. But is God obsessed with it? When He watches a person get older, what does He think? Does He see youth in the same way we do? It's counter-cultural to view the second half of life with honor, but this is exactly how God sees it. The Bible tells us that God sees youthfulness and aging differently than we do. "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life," (Proverbs 16:31) and "The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair" (Proverbs 20:29).
So how do we make this shift to viewing our older years with honor instead of resentment or even denial? How do we age with grace in a culture obsessed with youth? Here are five ways how:
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