Do you feel old? Perhaps you think your best years are behind you?
When I was a kid, forty seemed like a lifetime away.
Forty years old. Wow. That was old.
I went to a few birthday parties for friends’ parents where plastic pink flamingos were strategically placed on front lawns, helium balloons proclaimed ‘over the hill,’ gifts of adult diapers and Metamucil were exchanged and birthday cards mocked something to the effect of ‘being a dinosaur.’
At those parties I just remember eating cake and thinking “I can’t wait to hit double digits.” Ten was a pivotal age for a nine year old. Ten was a big boy.
Fast-forward thirty years and here I am, an over-the-hill dinosaur (without the pink flamingos thankfully!)
And yet, I don’t feel old. In fact I feel better than I did when I was thirty. I can run longer, lift as much and I’m wearing a size smaller jeans. Bonus!
There have been some changes that I don’t like. My hairline is receding and could use some reseeding, and lines are developing on my forehead and around my eyes, mostly from laughing at dumb jokes (including my own). And I ache a lot more from old injuries in my lower back and knees. But it hasn’t slowed me down. I feel as if I’m just getting up to full speed.
In the book of Exodus a man named Caleb gives us all a stellar example of aging with grace. He had been faithful to God for his whole life and now eighty-five years old, he asked his friend Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, to give him his inheritance of land. This inheritance came with a catch-he had to fight for it and displace the people who were living there already. And most ironic part about this whole story is that rather than asking for the land that would be most easy to conquer, he asked for the hill country (14:6-15).
Fighting on uneven ground is never easy. You are always at a disadvantage, fighting an uphill battle. Was this a hill Caleb really wanted to die on? Yes. This grizzled man of God wanted to fight another battle up a hill rather than be written off as “over-the-hill.”
I am not afraid to get older, because I know that as long as I keep dreaming and doing, God will give me the strength to be more than a conqueror.
So today, if you are feeling old, tired and sorry for yourself, look no further than to the example of Caleb. That is what I am choosing to do.
My best days are yet to come.
And so are yours.