“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate … for He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103:13-14 (NLT)
Lately I’ve become aware of the effects of aging. Some personally, some within my family, some in other people’s families. But with aging, there seems to come a number of issues that involve our bodies (& sometimes our minds). Our bodies begin to age and weaken and become increasingly susceptible.
So how are we to treat our aging bodies?
The answer might sound familiar: the same way Jesus would. We should treat our aging bodies the same way Jesus would treat our aging bodies — with love, tenderness, compassion & understanding.
God’s mercies are new every day … & so should ours be … even to ourselves.
Instead of comparing yourself to what you used to be able to do (5, 10, 20 years ago!?), assess who and where you are today & start from there. If you used to bench-press 80 pounds and can only bench-press 20 today, so what!? Bench-press the 20 today! (Or maybe even 10 until you really know you have the muscle stamina.)
Our bodies are not machines. They are delicate pieces of craftsmanship created by God. Think of them as Stradivarius violins: of great worth, able to pay beautiful music … but you must learn how to play & care for it properly.
And if you are aging, think of yourself a an aging Stradivarius violin: still of great worth & still able to play beautiful music … and needing a bit more tender-loving care.
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead you need someone to teach you again the basics … like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. … Solid food is for the mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:12-14 NLT)
Here’s a truth:
the person you have been is not the person you will remain.
The person you have been and the person you currently are — these are not the person you will be. You will evolve (small “e”) — you will adapt and grow and change — perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worse. And the things that you habitually practice, whether consciously or unconsciously, will make all the difference.
This is true physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We can train our bodies, for example, in ways that makes us stronger, more flexible, with greater functionality and with more endurance … or we can neglect our physical bodies and grow weaker, more stiff, less functional and with less endurance. You choose.
And the same is true with our minds and hearts and souls. We can incorporate practices that grow us toward who we want to be and who God wants us to be … or we can kick back and let the culture or those around us to shape and mold us as they see fit. You choose.
So as we look toward the season of Birth … and the New Year ritual of rebirth … consider this:
The person you have been is not the person you will remain.
This is both a challenge and a gift. Accept and embrace both.