Tag Archives: Aging

Does ‘Redefining’ Change Anything?

21 Oct

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror in the bright morning light, sans make-up, I breathed a heavy sigh.

“That’s it,” I said. “I’m officially calling my age spots ‘freckles.'”

I’d already redefined the wrinkles around my eyes as “smile lines.” And the silver (Ok, gray) around my hairline as “highlights.”

My mom calls her double chin a “wattle,” but I’m still searching for a happier way to define the fleshy flap of skin under my jawline. Rooster wattles are meant to gain hens’ attention. Frankly, I don’t want ANY attention going to my double chin.

No matter how I redefine my bodily changes, it doesn’t really change anything.

I’m getting older. It’s programmed into my DNA. No matter how I try to eat healthier and move my body, my bones will likely grow more brittle with age; my hormones and fat storage will likely change; and my voice, eyesight and hearing will likely weaken.

Solomon talked about this in Ecclesiastes 12:3-13.  In old age, our muscles slacken, our grip weakens, our joints stiffen, and the shades slowly pull down on our world.

The promises of scripture for the aging are God’s continuing presence and opportunities to bear fruit for His Kingdom (Psalm 71:18; 90:10, 12; 92:14, 16; 71:9).

But this redefining thing bothers me.

Redefining reality doesn’t change it.

Redefining only makes us feel better, perhaps, about our challenges.

Or it allows us to go our own way rather than seeking God and His will for our lives.

We live in a culture that tries to redefine so many things.

  • Redefining gender.
  • Redefining femininity and masculinity.
  • Redefining roles.
  • Redefining marriage.
  • Redefining parenting.
  • Redefining love.
  • Redefining tolerance.
  • Redefining salvation.

I’m not going to go into all those re-definitions; but only want to note: We’re ending up with a culture lived in shades of gray. We’re doing what seems right in our own eyes (Proverbs 21:2).

We need to be careful not to redefine what God, in His infinite wisdom, already defined in bold, living color in scripture.

Either He is our Lord and final authority, or He is not. And He already made clear what the consequences are for not recognizing His lordship over every area of life (Matthew 7:21-23).

The One who redeems us also lays claim to our lives, and He has the right to define how we live.

Redefining what the Lord declares doesn’t change anything!

Redefining age spots as freckles is laughable; redefining “thus says the Lord” is not.

What are you trying to “redefine” in your life? Is it flying in the face of the Word of God? 

 – Dawn

 

 

 

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5 Brilliant Lessons Age Spots Taught Me

2 Sep

I didn’t know lion cubs are born with spots—brown rosettes—on their body. Almost like a leopard.LionCub_pogo_mm_Pixabay

A funny cartoon shows Daddy lion talking to his young cub.

“Don’t worry, Son,” the lion said.

“They’ll go away as you get older. They’re just youth spots.”

Youth spots are cute, but what about age spots?

Poet Elaine Bishop wrote, in “Poems of Hope and Humor,”

“When I woke up this morning, I found another spot.

I do not know what’s causing them, but I sure have a lot.

Grandma called them liver spots; that does not appeal to me.

Now I’m hearing age spots; Oh, Lord, that could not be.

I’d pass them off as freckles but that would not be true,

And I must always tell the truth whatever else I do.

As long as I’ve no name for them and I’m still in the dark,

I’ve decided I’ll call them my special beauty mark.” *

GrandmaDorothy_LOLWithGod_5BrilliantFactsAgeSpotsTaughtMeI always said I wanted to grow old like my Grandma Dorothy (pictured here). Yes, she had wrinkles and age spots, but her gentle spirit and kind heart always glowed.  She loved Jesus and it showed!

I just didn’t expect to see my own wrinkles and age spots so soon! 

As I sat in church one Sunday, I stared at my arm, counting the age spots:  1 – 2- 3 – 4. Oh, please! Enough already!

As I sat there, only half listening to the preacher at that moment, I was hearing another message. My age spots were “speaking” to me, and they taught me five important lessons. Brilliant lessons!

1. GET SMART: Use Sunscreen!

I haven’t been wise. Although I wasn’t a “sun baby,” since moving to California I’ve soaked up lots of sun just in daily activities. And I haven’t used sunscreen.

Damage is apparent, but it’s not too late to start. (I hope.)

I’ve read lots of home remedies for age spots (like a mixture of brown rice, agave nectar and lemon juice), and the market is flooded with potions for a price. (I’ll probably get emails from them!) But the truth is, we all get them. Some more, others less.  We need to get smart and use the sunscreen!

2. SEE REALITY: Beauty IS More than Skin Deep.

My Grandma is in heaven now, but I remember her true beauty. Whenever I looked at her face, I saw more than wrinkles and age spots. Her beauty truly was more than skin deep. Her beauty was deep within and it blessed all of her family and friends.

In extolling the virtues of the noble woman, the writer of Proverbs says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 HCSB).

Matthew Henry wrote, “…the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever.” **

I want that beauty of the soul, don’t you?

3. FACE TRUTH: You’re Terminal.

Hollywood celebrity Valerie Harper, diagnosed with brain cancer, said, “We’re all terminal; none of us are getting out of this alive.”

The Bible says much the same thing about our earthly existence. Unless the Lord comes to snatch us away (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we’re all doing to die (Hebrews 9:27).

We’re all terminally ill with a disease named “death.” 

Christians don’t need to worry about this fact. To be “in Christ” and to die is “gain” (Philippians 1:21). We go directly into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

4. REDEEM TIME: Don’t Lose Opportunities.

Although we don’t know the final date for our tombstones, we have today to love and serve the Lord and people.

We need to “redeem” (buy up) every day, looking for opportunities. How?

There are many ways to redeem our remaining days. Here are just a few:

  • We can awake from our sleep and understand the times (Romans 13:11).
  • We can look carefully how we behave and be wise (Ephesians 5:15).
  • We can make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5b).
  • We can seek the will of God each day—our marching orders (Ephesians 5:17).
  • We can be filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b) and under His control.
  • We can do all God calls us to do with all our might while there is still time! (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • We can set our mind on heavenly things, because really, the truth is we are “dead” to this life—with our lives alive in and “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Don’t live in such a way that your final day is filled with regrets. Where you have sinned, confess and repent … and then move on! God has much to accomplish through you until your dying breath!

5. REMEMBER HOPE: You’re Promised Another Body!

While the Christ-follower’s soul goes to be with the Lord, the body is changed later (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Our bodies are raised “imperishable”—perfect and free from all death and decay (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

This is part of the blessed hope (Titus 2:13-14) of the Christian’s eternal life. Our mind can be in the beginning stages of transformation now (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16). But someday our lowly body will be transformed to be like our Savior’s glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

Our new body will never wear out or grow old, never get sick or decay and never die! 

And no more age spots!

Which of these lessons from age spots speaks to you today?  In light of your aging, how will you cooperate with the inner transformation God wants to produce in you?

– Dawn

* “Seeing Spots” by Elaine Bishop, Poems of Hope and Humor (AuthorHouse, 2013), p. 9 (Emphasis mine).

** Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31

 

Chin Hairs, Cankles and Loving People

5 Mar

There’s just something funny about chin hairs … on women. Ok, maybe not so funny.

I read these comments about chin hairs this week:ChinHair_LOLwithGod_graphicFreedigitalPhotos

  • “Some days my biggest accomplishment is removing that annoying chin hair.”
  • “True friends don’t just tell you about your chin hair. They’ve already dug out the tweezers from their purse.”
  • “I refuse to call them chin hairs. We shall call them stray eyebrows.”
  • “Make me a promise. If I end up in a coma, will you come to the hospital and pluck my chin hair?”

Chin hairs are a fact of life for the “elder set,” as are cankles (chubby ankles) and a whole assortment of other strange and wonderful body changes.

I have to admit, for some time assessing the obvious changes in my own body made me want to hide away. In fact, at one point as a speaker to women, I found myself dreading the opportunities.

“They’ll be staring at my ankles,” I thought, and I chose to wear long pants on stage.

Before I left for a luncheon engagement, I used a searchlight on my chin. “What if I miss a stray hair,” I said. “Horrors! That’s all the ladies at the table will see!

The devil doesn’t care what he uses to discourage us from ministry. Even chin hairs.

Realizing my responses were silly, I decided not to give the enemy an inch.

“Satan, I’m going to this event, and I’m going to speak, and I don’t care if I do have chin hairs and cankles. I’m going to go … and I’m going to love on people!”

Yes, we want to look our best, but if we’re not careful, we’ll miss out on God’s work in people’s lives because we’re too busy examining all the reasons we’re “inadequate” or “weird.”

The truth is, most people don’t care what you look like. They care about whether you know how to love … whether you speak truth … whether you live an authentic life.

Things that matter.

So no, I’m not like the slim speaker with the dazzling white teeth, trim waist, long eyelashes and very long legs. But I am uniquely crafted by the Creator to reach and touch the people He has ordained me to minister to and serve. I have to quit believing the enemy’s lies and embrace God’s truth.

The scriptures speak of the foolishness of comparisons.

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV).

Comparisons aren’t anything new:

  • Rachel and Leah had a real comparison fiasco going on! (Genesis 29:17; 30:1).
  • Joseph’s brothers were envious of him to the point of wishing him dead (Acts 7:9).
  • Saul was jealous, comparing himself to the beloved David (1 Samuel 18:8-9).
  • And in the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples struggled with comparisons, wondering who would be greatest in the Kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4; 20:20-28; Luke 9:46-48), and who would be called to suffer  or spared in their near future (John 21:20-23).

God simply asks us to do our personal best and not worry about what others do. Paul wrote: “Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6:4, Living Bible).

There are a number of negative attitudes behind comparisons.

Envy doesn’t look attractive on anyone, and discontent can disfigure the prettiest face.

The devil loves it when we struggle with the pride of comparisons, thinking wrongly about ourselves (Romans 12:3). God created us the way He wanted us to be, and all we have is from Him. We have no right to puff up with pride (1 Corinthians 4:7). Instead, we need to honor and be good stewards of the body God gave us … to bring HIM glory.

Pleasing the Lord is what matters. We will give account to Him alone, and we have no reason to glory outside of Him (Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 10:17-18). He gives us good gifts, spiritual gifts for ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-18) and we need to be grateful.

Let’s spend more time loving and serving people; and if we have to compare, let’s spend our time comparing our lives to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)—not comparing chin hairs and cankles.

Where do you tend to compare yourself to others? Can you instead thank God for who you are and all that you have?

-Dawn

Graphic adapted, imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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