Feb 16, 2021 • Written by Judy Episcopo
What do I want to be when I grow up?
I am 60 years old.
No longer young. No longer middle-aged. Not quite elderly.
Life feels much more…temporary. Fragile even. Long-term planning and dreams of the future, my future, seem at times irrelevant.
But still I ponder my future. I continue to ask myself the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” As I look ahead, my answer is no longer just “…a teacher, an explorer, a president, a mom!”
It’s not that these types of goals are wrong- not at all! In fact, goals like these are necessary for all of us, and yet, there should be more. We need something else that is able to take us across the finish line of life with a flourish. Now my answer is qualified with, “I want to be faith-filled. I want to be a blessing to those around me.”
Faith-filled. A blessing.
As I have spent time around the elderly, (which is fast becoming my peer group!) I have noticed many bitter, depressed, cranky old people. And I get it. So much has been taken from them.
Truly, the older we get, the more loss we experience. Careers we've invested in no longer have use for us. The education we've poured our resources into is outdated or forgotten. The health and vitality we once spent money on has disappeared never to return. Families are busy or live far away. Friends have died. Everything and everyone that has been counted on, invested in, spent time with throughout life have mostly deserted us.
Sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?
It is if you don’t believe that Jesus is all you need and that he will never desert you.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” -Psalm 23:1
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” -Hebrews 13:5
It is if you doubt your value and purpose in what it means to be created in the image of God.
It’s depressing if you don’t believe that God’s love is better than life- or anything!
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” -Psalm 63:3
It’s a bleak outcome if you have never had faith in the incredible joy and purpose God has for those who trust in him!
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."- Psalm 16:11
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10
But here's the thing- faith is a journey. It’s not a short little trip. It takes a lifetime.
The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) says this in Ecclesiastes 12:1 (msg):
“Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young, before the years take their toll…”
We tend to want to sow wild oats when we are young. Then after we have had our “fun”, we can settle down into the “serious business” of trusting God when we are older.
We sow what we reap, and if we haven’t sown any seeds of faith when we’re young, it’s harder to sow seeds of faith (though not impossible!) in the hardened battle ground of old age and regrets. Believing in something bigger than ourselves carries us beyond the limitations of our contributions, our connections, our life, and our regrets.
What else can move us beyond our smallness? A person can have certain undesirable character traits throughout their life such as being ungrateful, sarcastic, selfish, or silly. We are able to overlook these things, or at least put up with it, when the person is productive, beautiful, smart, or can contribute something meaningful.
However, when ignoring character issues such as these, once the authority, vitality, and productivity of youth is lost, all that is left is an undeveloped and unpleasant character. No one, and I mean no one, will care or want to be near you in the time of need.
Become a blessing. It’s not too late!
I want to be a blessing. I want to be grateful. I want to encourage those around me. This is how I want to be remembered. Regardless of age, we can start today! I need to practice these attributes now. I need to submit myself NOW to Jesus so that I can be transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
I plan on being ever hopeful that the best is yet to be and the "righteous will flourish like a palm tree, planted in the house of the LORD. They will flourish in the courts of our God; They will still bear fruit in old age; They will stay fresh and green" (Psalm 92:12-14).
May it be so, Lord Jesus, may it be so. I couldn’t hope to be anything better when I grow up.