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How to age without growing old

By: janet roberts

When my children were in elementary school, I accompanied their classes to visit nursing homes. The children brought gifts and chatted with the residents, hoping to bring cheer to lonely seniors.

Not all of the children rejoiced at that opportunity. In truth, it freaked out quite a few of them. Their biggest complaint was the smell. Their sensitive noses recoiled at the combination of medicine and incontinence that often wafted through the halls.

When my husband and I entered our fifties, we began to discuss what we needed to do to stay productive in the kingdom of God. We set a goal to be like the people described in Psalm 92:14: “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”

Stagnation stinks.

At that time, God reminded me of the nursing home visit and spoke to my heart: “It’s stagnation that stinks.”

I knew exactly what He meant. If we want to stay spiritually young and productive, we have to keep moving.

As I’m learning to stay active in ways that matter, I’ve discovered three ways those of us of a certain age can combat stagnancy and say with confidence, “the best is yet to come.”

Keep Learning

As we age, it's tempting to seek relief from the burden of learning new things. Most of us older folk have no context for this era of technology, so it would be easier to rest on the laurels of our experiences and past knowledge. Yet, while I treasure the accumulated wisdom of life’s experiences and walking with God, stagnancy produces atrophy. If we don’t use what we know, we lose the ability to do it well. Struggling to learn something new is just plain healthy.

Focus Your Thoughts on the Future

Aging is a state of body, but being old is a state of mind. Old-minded people dwell on the past. Young-minded people are future-oriented. NewSpring is a great environment for people of all ages who are future-minded. Each one of us is challenged to think about our next steps: what does the future have in store? Reminiscing has its joys, but when we view the past as our highlight reel, we grow older. The Lord’s commitment to be with us, to grow us, and to work through us amidst any circumstance doesn't come with an expiration date (Philippians 2:13, Jeremiah 29:11).

Keep Pace With God

Our bodies will age, but the Bible tells us how to maintain the stamina necessary to finish strong in the will of God for our lives: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).

Stay close enough to Jesus so you can follow His lead faithfully. He strengthens us in every way to finish our race.

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