Own It

Not long ago I posted about being an ezer in the second half of life. I’m truly thankful for how God is teaching me to trust Him in embracing the ever-changing relational seasons of my life. But here’s the flip side of my journey in aging…

I turned 62 this year: old enough to file for Social Security. And my insides are screaming, “That’s for some old person!” Persistent aches and pains have suspended my running. I don’t sleep well. Wrinkles, grey hair, and unwanted pounds are a continual thorn in my side. Here’s a perk: as a senior, I qualify for 5% off my groceries on Wednesdays. This is my new normal?!

I find myself chafing at even using the term “senior.” And here I thought I’d worked through all that when I hit 60! But as time has passed and the inner struggle has continued, I’ve realized that in some ways I’ve only come to an uneasy truce with the passing years. That’s not a comfortable, nor a good place to live. I’ve self-medicated with the current adage that “60 is the new 50.” But that spin only soothes for a while. I’ve come to the realization that it’s time to own it.

So I’ve asked myself: Why am I struggling? How exactly do I make real peace with my aging body? How do I gladly own every aspect of this stage of life? And as I’ve started drilling into my soul, here’s what’s surfacing:

Discontent. Obviously, I’m not content with the inescapable reality of being older, grayer, wrinkled and sagging. However, like Israel in the desert, I’m realizing that my grumbling is, at its core, against God.

Thanklessness. Furthermore, my discontent is rooted in a failure to be actively thankful. I’m rarely even mindful that life, strength, health, and mobility are mine each day only by God’s grace.

Idolatry. The root of my discontent and thanklessness is an idolatry of self that drives self-love or self-loathing about my physical condition. I’m also seeing how I’ve sought approval and security – idols so common to a woman’s heart – in the condition of my body.

Every acknowledgement of God’s grace and kindness to me lifts my gaze and turns my heart in the right direction: away from myself and toward Him.

Having identified the sins and idols driving dissatisfaction with my age, Scripture points to remedies which, for me, are easier said than done. After all, God isn’t after mere behavior modification, He wants to see my heart changed. He is showing me that the process must begin with repentance whenever discontent rears its ugly head. Repentance must be accompanied by continual, genuine thankfulness – the most effective antidote I know for discontent. I can choose contentment, for honestly, rehearsing the multitude of blessings which are mine could be an endless litany. Every acknowledgement of God’s grace and kindness to me lifts my gaze and turns my heart in the right direction: away from myself and toward Him. Finally, I must live out my transcendent calling as an ezer. Age, health, and mobility will shape how that looks, but will never negate the call.

Owning it? Ask me in a few months how I’m doing and hold me accountable to pursue this path of humble obedience which God has shown. There is life to be found – at any age, and at every age – in His call. That’s the life I want to live.

-Libby Thomas, Powdersville

Grace will be launching the latest Ezer study: Body Matters in February 2015. For more information on the study or to stay connected, click here:  http://gracechurchsc.org/women/body-matters/