I had my annual visit with my doctor. (Have you had yours?) We sometimes have conversations about long-term health. Apparently, I’m right on target for getting another year older!
How about you? At some point this year, you will become another year older. So – Happy Birthday!
Although you and I don’t have control over the inevitable aging process – we can make some good decisions.
What Does The Dr. Say?
Often there’s a list of things to cover at your annual doctor visit. You probably know your doctor’s list. I know mine.
When becoming “another year older” (a common doctor office topic), most physicians have a list of advice:
- Stay active. Whatever your condition, get your heart pumping and lungs working. Exercise your muscles.
- Take care of yourself. You owe it to yourself to adopt healthy habits, including a balanced diet. Did you know doctors can often tell in younger people – who is and who is not taking care of themselves?
- Maintain a positive perspective. Perspective affects your whole life. It matters.
- Stay on top of health concerns. With daily healthy action steps, you can develop life patterns to stay healthier over time.
- TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS! Not taking medications is a common frustration to doctors working to help a patient.
- See you next year, if not before. A yearly appointment is critical as you grow another year older.
Another Year Older
No matter what your age, your birthday simply means you are another year older. This event happens to everyone like clockwork. People celebrate in many ways.
- Some prefer the old-fashioned idea: I get to choose my meal and birthday dessert.
- Others go “all out” and celebrate BIG every year, perhaps even a trip. However, this can get expensive and tiring.
- There’s the big bash on a special birthday. Maybe 6 or 12 for a child. Perhaps each decade all through life.
- Some folks like a simple, quiet celebration with family or a couple of good friends.
- P.S. Presents, streamers, balloons and greeting cards fit in various ways into the above scenarios.
Which person are you? I know who I am.
Two key question to ask as you grow another year older –
- Am I becoming the person God created me to be?
- Am I growing in Christ-like character to be a healthy person?
I’m guessing not many 20 year-olds think about aging. 30 – 40 year-olds? Maybe. Life still looks pretty promising to most people in those decades, unless tragedy has cut into life.
I used to think getting old was far away. But it is always very close. Getting another year older happens every minute – every day. This process continues even when you are not aware of it. Quiet. Persistent. Unavoidable.
The reality of getting another year older bends you into someone you didn’t used to be in body, mind, and spirit. You have the privilege and responsibility to decide if that bending is for good – or not. If it’s healthy or dysfunctional.
Challenges of Getting Another Year Older
Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. Memory struggles – and you need more lists. Your stride slows a bit. Joints hurt. Muscles and bones ache. Afternoon nap, anyone? Sometimes you start telling a joke and just can’t remember the punch line. Health issues invade. You need glasses for your eyes, aids for your ears, color for your hair (if you still have hair). Sometimes you fall behind in latest technology or global developments and have to play catch-up.
I’ve often wondered how eternal life will look. Haven’t you?
- How does the body stay young, strong, and powerful – forever?
- What renewal process does skin experience to remain elastic and supple?
- How do joints stay flexible and well-padded despite wear-and-tear activity?
- What interventions take place to keep the mind sharp, focused in thinking skills?
- Does the heart never wear out? It just keeps beating forever?
- Can the human spirit keep going . . . on and on . . .
Aging brings losses. Most people grieve them, though some don’t identify or admit losses. Life in a broken environment has definite impacts. Death and disease. Accidents. Abuse and neglect. Decline and worsening conditions. Natural disasters.
But there are also incredible opportunities.
- You can embrace improvements in your life.
- Even if small, you can impact the world.
God intended His original design to contain encouragement, empowering, enabling. It was never His intention that growing another year older should be a negative or debilitating experience.
Challenges of aging can bend you better.
Blessings of Getting Another Year Older
Every day is filled with blessing and opportunity. The person who hunts for blessings is healthier. So, train yourself to hunt. Adopt God’s thoughts and ways to ensure aging bends you better.
- Going places, seeing meaningful culture, art, history, etc.
- Being open to other points of view enriches your own perspective.
- Having success changing unhealthy patterns.
- Enjoying adventures, people, friendships, food.
- Cultivating a hobby.
- Improving your health.
- Reading / listening to great material.
- Learning the value of a pause – rich with experience and wisdom. (“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10a)
- Gaining wisdom and discernment over the years.
- Picking your battles.
- Maturing in character and influence.
- Accepting challenges and losses to bend life better.
- Accepting disappointment and tragedy sometimes precedes new joys and opportunities.
- The best blessing – walking with God to know Him better.
Two Helpful Conditions: Love and Trust
- Embracing aging – then giving it back to God – is a sacrifice of love for God. (When you love someone, you are willing to sacrifice.)
- Intense, focused trust in God, who never breaks a promise, bends you better in aging. (When you trust someone, you intensely stay with them.)
As you grow another year older, you have many opportunities to live by faith. Chuck Swindoll said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
Opportunities of aging can bend you better.
Does Aging Strip You?
Well, yes and no. But, the stripping of aging depends partially on how you think and live. Attitudes, habits, patterns, perspective – all affect growing another year older. You have more control than you may realize.
A person who bends life better, evaluates their decisions . . . things like –
- how to think,
- what to say,
- what not to say,
- what to do,
- what didn’t work previously,
- what haven’t I tried that might help,
When you engage better thinking and living, you strip the power of “aging stripping you!”
Inside And Outside
Evaluate how your decisions impact your own life and other’s lives. Living with carefully selected priorities and focuses changes the scope and sequence of each day. Just as a 20 year-old can generally increase good health in later years with healthy choices now, so thinking and living wisely now changes the scope and sequence of your on-going life.
Look back through memories of your life. How does it look? If you’re like me, you see many blessings, some sadness, some regrets, lots of unexpected developments, and lots that’s inside and outside your control.
Life strips you when you give up control God intended you to have and use. Despite everything outside your control, you do have power to choose responsibly, even in tough times. That power is inside your control.
- Ask God to train you to use your power as He intended.
- Then ask Him to apply His power over your power as a cushioning, corrective measure.
Is. 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Adopting God’s “higher ways and thoughts” empowers what’s inside your control, and is the corrective measure of what’s outside your control.
In addition to better thinking and living, here are some practical action steps to further strip negative power of growing another year older:
- Live each day thoughtfully to bend life better physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally.
- “Do life” with all your heart and might – with passion.
- Strive to be:
- Eager to learn.
- Servant to others.
- Faithful – working at what God puts in front of you.
- Celebrating often, even if just in your heart.
- Enjoying small blessings all around you.
- Engaging relationships, hobbies, reading, great food, exercise, and worship.
- Embrace your future with hope. Let aging bend you better.
- Seek the Lord. Draw close to Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) “You who seek God, may your hearts live.” (Ps. 69:32b)
Application Thoughts and Questions
- When do you turn another year older? Happy Birthday!
- What challenges have you encountered as you grow older?
- What blessings and positive experiences/people have made your life more meaningful?
- Are you becoming the person God created by letting Him bend you better?
- What are you doing to grow in Christ-like character and be a healthy person?
- Are you allowing life to strip you in any way? How can you stop that negative action (see above Does Aging Strip You? and Take Charge).
- Have you been to your doctor for your annual checkup?
For additional information – Accomplish Your Purpose: Helpful Steps.
Before we sign off, I want to tell you about an exciting resource Alive and Active Life has been working on for you. Easter is coming soon, and so is Prepare For Easter. Lives are busy for most people, and it’s hard to focus your heart. So, we’ve developed a rich devotional focus for Holy Week. Each day features 1. a brief focus meditation, 2. a fun activity, and 3. a teaching point. The content drills into practical provisions Jesus brings to make life meaningful and effective in difficult times.
So – to participate!
You’ll be glad you took a few minutes a day to prepare your heart for Easter. Pass the sign up to your friends, family, church, students – anyone! (It’s all free!)
Visit our website for devotional materials, articles, podcasts, and resources to help grow your faith in God. Pursue noble character and an Alive and Active Life.