- Friday, August 03, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Karen O’Connor's book, The Beauty of Aging, (Regal Books, 2007).
Even though our society celebrates youth and scorns aging, getting older is a natural process designed by God. You don’t have to fear aging. In fact, if you embrace the reality of getting older and invite God to lead you through the process, you’ll discover that this season in your life can be a beautiful and satisfying one.
Here’s how you can age gracefully:
Keep growing in your faith. Remember that God wants you to live by faith, not by sight. Instead of trying to control your own life and other people’s lives, trust God’s work behind the scenes. Avoid giving your grown children or anyone else unsolicited advice. Instead, pray about all of your concerns, interceding for the people you care about and believing that God will help them resolve their problems better than you could. Surrender your worries to God, remembering that He will give you all the protection and provision you need. Read and meditate on Bible passages (such as a Psalm) every day, allowing your soul to absorb God’s truth like vitamins. Frequently pray for God to give you a fresh perspective on the various situations in your life, so you can see from a healthier point of view. Ask God to help you see through the window of His will, no matter what the circumstances. Remind yourself that God is with you always, and ask Him to help you be alert to His presence even in the midst of mundane tasks. Thank Him and praise Him regularly for His constant presence in your life. Let your love for God motivate you to do your best at everything you undertake. Get the rest, solitude, and silence you need to fight stress in your life. Simplify your schedule and environment so you can focus on what matters most and let the rest go. Carefully consider your choices so you don’t over-commit yourself and risk illness or irritability. Whenever you’re facing a tough situation, choose a relevant Bible verse, personalize it, and meditate on it. Make a habit of personalizing your favorite Bible verses to help you apply them to your life.
Build your relationships with family. Choose to forgive people who have hurt you, and rely on God’s help to do so. Realize that you can’t afford to keep holding grudges against family members; you need them. Determine to make the best use of the time you have left on Earth by growing closer to God and other people. Ask God to give you the love He wants you to have for your family members, and to guide you regularly to know how best to express that love to them in specific ways. Be generous, willing to give your family your time, energy, money, or other resources as God leads you. Remember that people are more important than things. Decide to be tickled about your family members – even when they make choices with which you disagree – instead of ticked at them. Love them unconditionally. Know that you can be a great grandparent, no matter what your personality. Clearly communicate to your grandchildren and their parents what you can and want to do as a grandparent, and what you’re not open to or available for, so they can set appropriate expectations. Pray for your grandchildren, and talk naturally about what God is doing in their lives and yours during your time with them. Have fun together. Don’t turn down invitations to family functions that you really could attend if you simply took a nap beforehand or asked someone for a ride so you don’t have to drive yourself. Try to attend family events whenever possible. When it’s not possible, express your interest in your family through a phone call, card, letter, or gift. Rather than just giving your adult children gifts that you think they need, ask them to tell you what they actually need, then focus on that.
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