In our youth obsessed society, it is getting harder to convince myself that the ravages of time that are becoming more and more evident in my appearance are badges of honor.
“Laugh lines” punctuate my face like quotation marks. Cheeks, chin, and belly have all given up their resistance to gravity and succumbed to the relentless downward force. My metabolism has screeched to a halt like a stubborn ass that refuses to carry its load One. Step. Further.
And my neck. What happened to my neck? There isn’t a ponytail tight enough to correct what’s going on there.
I look in a mirror and almost don’t recognize myself. Almost. I qualify that because I don’t want to be that person James talks about.
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24
But it’s close. Because I don’t feel any different than I did twenty or thirty years ago.
So in spite of telling myself that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, that the media lies to us courtesy of Photoshop, that I’m so much wiser than when I was young, I sound like the older folks I disregarded in my youth, who plaintively complained, “Where did the time go?”
You can imagine my elation when I stumbled across the following verse in the Bible.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5
Oh. My. Goodness.
I want all of that. The forgiveness of sins. Healing. My life redeemed from the pit. And I have experienced these things–evidence of his love and compassion.
But would it be wrong if I really want my desires to be satisfied with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s?
To be honest, I don’t really understand what eagles have to do with renewed youth. That kind of puzzles me. The part about renewed youth piques my imagination though.
Armed with this verse, I did what anyone trying to live by faith would do. I prayed that God would renew my youth.
Apparently, I needed to be more specific when I pray. Because a few days later I woke up, looked in the mirror and took my usual inventory. And there it was.
An answer to prayer.
Evidence of God’s sense of humor.
And a lighter, hopefully humorous, topic for this blog.
I saw evidence of youth: a pimple erupting in the middle of my chin.
Laugh lines still frame my eyes. Skin tone is headed to Palm Beach for the winter with the Snow Birds. Metabolism is sitting stubbornly on its haunches in the middle of the road. But I have a “spot.”
My romanticized view of “youth” got a dose of reality. It’s easy to filter the past and selectively remember only the good parts of being young. But if I’m honest with myself, there were struggles then, too.
When it comes down to it, I think my yearning for renewed youth is as much about wanting to be relevant as desiring a firmer smoother complexion. But the reality is I don’t have too many wrinkles to be used by God. My story, the things I’ve experienced in my life make me who I am and give me a unique voice.
So maybe, this promise of renewed youth is really a renewed purpose. And that’s pretty cool…living my life with God’s purpose is a gift at any age.