Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aging brings a Gift

Here’s the thing. (When a post opens like that, you know I’m letting you into my thoughts mid-stream. So just try to track with me here.) Two weeks ago I marked another birthday. I don’t feel as old as I seem to inevitably be growing.

Aside from that little exercise in cognitive dissonance, I’m OK with it.
A couple years ago I made a new friend.  She is ahead of me in life.  She moved to my town having just retired (from some really cool jobs like being head honcho at a little television station called the Food Network. Oh and also the one that starts with an H and ends with a V). I must say, God gives me spectacular friends. 

wish my nails looked this good

When I told her 40 was approaching on my horizon, she insisted my 40’s would be my absolute best decade. I had my reasons for doubting her – my hips and thighs namely.  But I decided to listen and trust what she had to say. Because I’ve discovered that wisdom truly does come with age.

Let me pause here and be clear, you can age without gaining much wisdom.  It happens to some, and I think that’s a bona fide shame. It’s equally true you don’t have to live through a multitude of decades to gain wisdom. It’s there for the asking.  Free for the seeking according to the Bible.

 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

“Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you, and make you wise.” Prov. 1:23

But age – or more accurately, TIME and EXPERIENCE – affords us perspective we don’t have when we’re young.  And perspective lives right next door to wisdom.
A few months ago, Sarah Martin at She Seeks asked me to share a piece of advice with the twenty-something set that frequents their blog. In writing that post, I realized how time and experience brings perspective, and perspective, wisdom. Hop over there if you want to read what I wrote.

Back to my wise friend who worked in TV. (I warned you this post would be rather stream of consciousness.)  She told me that in your 40’s you shed a lot of the self-consciousness and doubt that tends to plague us in our 30s.  She said our careers hit full stride in our 40’s.  And we become more comfortable in our bodies – even though they don’t look like they did in our 20’s – and with our decisions. We embrace our strengths more and worry less about our supposed weaknesses (those things God or life didn’t afford us).
That sounds really good to me. So I’m choosing to embrace my age.  I will welcome my 40’s. And my 50’s. And my 60’s. And my 70’s. And my 80’s should God allow me to live that long.

I don’t know where on the timeline you are, but I encourage you to embrace it, whatever number it is. Celebrate your years of life and the wisdom they bring. And share your wisdom with others. 
It’s a gift.

“Gray hair is like a crown of glory; it is attained in the path of righteousness.” Prov 16:31

Are you dreading or embracing aging?


  1. Rachel,
    I love your post today! I am a high school English teacher who heads back on Monday!! We had several teachers retire from our department this past year and the realization struck me that I am now the oldest teacher in my department (at 43)!!! ARGH!!! So to answer your question.. I dread it when I look in the mirror sometimes, which prompted this post on my blog last year :
    But I embrace it on days when I hear younger women stressing about things I used to and I realize it was as bad as I thought or I can share with them those bits of advice shared with me at their age. I truly am more comfortable with myself at this age than I ever have been before and the older I become the more I yearn for heavenly things and not earthly things. I hope He is giving me some wisdom I am always asking for! Thank you so much for sharing today. Is it as hot where you are as it is in Louisiana? We hit 109 yesterday!

  2. Meant to say NOT as bad as I thought! See what I mean about getting older - I just randomly omit stuff!

  3. Hi Michelle,

    The school system - at least these days were I'm at - tends to be dominated by young teachers. Still I can't believe you are the oldest in your dept. at just 43.

    Those younger English teachers at your school are blessed to have a godly mentor in their midst!

    Gracious yes, it is HOT here. And the heat is keeping me in a continuous state of inelegance. :)

  4. Listen, that abiliy to randomly forget or omit stuff can be a pro as much as a con! :)

  5. What an interesting post... I turn 35 this fall, and I find myself at battle within my head. What have I accomplished? Am I holding up physically as well as others? Have I done enough for the Lord? Is it time to cover this gray that keeps multiplying in my dark brown hair? I think in my 30's I still catch myself comparing my life to other women, a notion that I would be glad to shed in any decade!!! In a way, I look forward to the next decade of my life ~ older children and a different phase of life for me. My fear lies in me not becoming who God purposed me to be... that's the tough part for me! Moving in His direction, not focusing on the petty parts. You know, like covering the gray...

  6. Tamara, there's nothing wrong with covering those stray grays ... Beth Moore even says so. :)

  7. Loved this, Rachel! My forties have been awesome so far, both in what your friend said--shedding some of that self-consciousness and feeling more comfortable with yourself--and in realizing I've reached a point in my life where I've gleaned some wisdom to share. I really didn't believe this last part until God sat me next to a precious 20 something boy on the plane ride home from She Speaks this year and we had an amazing conversation about life and spiritual growth. While the world prepares to set us on the shelf, God is gearing up to use us in greater ways if we let Him!

  8. Very cool, D'Anne. I love your last sentence: "While the world prepares to set us on the shelf, God is gearing up to use us in greater ways if we let Him!"

  9. Wise friend you have there, Rachel. I do pray that wisdom finds its way to me as I walk this 40-something trail. I am ready to "shed self-consciousness and doubt" and move on to the best my 40's has to offer. I'm finding I'm in good company, though, with great women like you and many others God continues to place in my path to walk along with me.

    Great post today and starting it with "Here's the thing" didn't throw me off one bit. I suppose my 40-something brain was following right along - LOL : )

    Have a great day!

  10. So glad you and Beth confirm that covering up my gray with sparkly blonde and low lights of latte brown is OK! :)

    Rachel, as always, your beautiful words are like sweet morsels to my soul.

    I am embracing being 40-something (dare I admit - closer to 50 than 40 at this point!). I do, however, confess that I don't heart the wrinkles and the sags. But I am thankful and I feel I have worked hard to earn each one! :)

    Thank you, Rachel, for a beautiful, wise post.


  11. Hi Rachel, loved the post today. I so enjoyed my forties, lost a lot of the self-confidence and doubt BUT then a major disappointment happened right before I turned fifty and a lot of the doubts came back. Fighting them, I so want to enjoy my life again and be who He wants me to be.

  12. I will pray for you today, Darlene.

  13. Rachel,
    I loved this post. Next year I will venturing into my forties and really for the most par...I dread it. For some reason I worry about time I have wasted and not being as far along as God wants me to be. The other part of me cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I am not mommy and daddys little girl anymore. I am the age they were when I came into the world.

    I do think its true that the older we get the more we are embrace the things in life that are most important and let go of what isn't. I look forward to seeing what God has in store....

    Thanks for the post....

  14. I am slightly over 60 and it is true...other than my body telling me at times that I am not 30, I don't "feel" my age. I feel more confident and on the right path much more that when I was younger. I am not doing the "grey" thing, however...I have to draw the line somewhere :) Sue R

  15. Great post. I think it was in my 40's that my body started breaking down and now that I'm 70 I'm just happy to have made it thus far. My husband will be 70 next week and he has started having some problems. I'm just looking for Jesus to come back anytime and then I'll have a new body. I've learned a lot since I started blogging right after the study you did on the women of the body and have learned so much from people I have come in contact with. My faith is stronger than ever. You just don't ever give up. There's a glad reunion day just ahead.

  16. Hey Rachel and other posters here. I turned 45 yesterday. I can so identify with what your friend said. I am in a totally different place since I entered my forties from where I used to be.
    Every age has its advantages and disadvantages I've heard somewhere. Must be true. Nevertheless, whatever our ages along this spectrum of life, let us praise God and give thanks everyday.!!

  17. I am 64 years old now and loving every minute of it. I guess you would say I am embracing aging. Much less self doubt. Much less business. Much more time for doing what I want. More time for my chuck and I to just be togehter. AND I love being NaNa to our 9 grandchildren. I never thought this time of my life would be so good. When I look in the mirror I see an aging body and some grey hair but that is OK. I am beyond the point of worrying about looking like a model - I never did. Thanks soo much for this post. It gave me a chance to list some wonderful blessings and believe me there are a lot more.

  18. Rachel,
    Thank you for this post. I struggled when I turned 30 and again at 40. I'm now 42 and feel like God has been working on me for the past couple of years. It struck me as I read your post that there's a reason He waited till my 40s to lead me into unfamiliar territory. I look back and know I'm different now than in my 20s & 30s. And that's a good thing. :)


  19. I'm loving hearing everyone's comments and perspective on this.

  20. What a great perspective on aging. I am trying hard to embrace my age and let myself be who I am with all the signs of the 50s appearing daily. It is really difficult not to be sad when I see the wrinkles, feel my tummy against my belt, and try to dress to disguise what gravity is doing to me. I find myself walking around mirrors instead of looking into them. I know, however, that I am God's creation and he loves me just the way I am, lumps bumps and all.


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