Every year as my birthday nears, I struggle with aging. Actually, I continually battle the thought of aging but fixate on it more when I must actually add to the number that captures the reality.
I know the “age is just a number” sayings, but I don’t buy them. To me, that constantly increasing number reminds me of my mortality, and I find I must deliberately confront my thoughts in this area to not find myself consumed by what sometimes feels like futility.
Maybe I love this world too much. Maybe I’m too attached to the desires of my flesh. Or maybe I simply struggle with the wasted time of my past, now lost forever. Regardless, I know I need to live forward instead of backwards, and for me this means confronting these thoughts that could paralyze me if I let them.
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
While I struggle with aging, I’m also acutely aware that the number placed on my age only involves my current dwelling or “tent” (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). I know that the real me, my spirit, renews daily (2 Corinthians 4:16). It doesn’t age. I hold dearly to my future promised with Christ in Heaven, and I know I must “not think only about things down here” but must “also set [my] sights on the realities of heaven” (Colossians 3:1-2).
At the same time, I can’t deny my desire to extend this tent-dwelling life as much as possible, to live a long, good life on this earth. I simply cannot escape the deep sense that this mortal life truly matters even amidst its fleetingness.
In my efforts to age gracefully, I realize that taking care of my physical self has some importance.
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
No, it’s not my top priority. It does have a place, though, especially in terms of how it allows me to carry out the value of godliness in this present life. Finding the balance between the physical and spiritual, then, is a key in what it takes to finish well in life this side of heaven.
Since this life does matter, I want to age gracefully. I want to live fully in a way that pleases my creator because I don’t believe he would give me this life if it didn’t matter much, if he didn’t have a specific purpose for both now and into eternity.