Who immediately comes to mind when you think of someone who embodies the idea of being “young at heart?”
Is the person older? Maybe of an age that we don’t usually expect spunkiness, freshness, or the ability to connect with a younger generation and inspire them to reach new heights?
Isn’t it odd that we consider it normal that most “old” people should be wasting away somewhere instead of living life to the fullest with every moment they have left? I so want to be a 90 year old lady who is running around and going full speed ahead. (I pray to stay as active as this 100 year old runner!) Sure, my speed may slow a little, but that doesn’t mean I have to throw on my brakes and park myself somewhere to waste away. I really believe this mentality needs to be checked in our lives. We can take care of our bodies now and have a young at heart spirit while we are young so that it carries us until we die.
A song came on the radio the other day and as I was listening to it all these wonderful people who have made such a big impact in my life flashed through my mind. The majority of these people were of an age where they “shouldn’t” have been living freely and with such life.
My mother taught me that age is just a number and has nothing to do with what you can or cannot do. Any time anyone ever asked my mother how old she was (and this happened ALL the time because she taught high school for 40 years), she would smile and say,
“I’m 19 going on 99.”
She is one of the spunkiest women I know. Always giving of herself, seeing others’ natural talents, and encouraging them to see their full potential in life. This idea of age being just a number goes for whether you are a young spring chicken type or a wise older owl type. A number should not define us.
I love how the Bible describes Moses:
Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. – Deuteronomy 34:7
Granted, I think God helped him out quite a bit, but Moses definitely didn’t kick his feet up and watch the Israelite soaps all day long. Actually, as I think through all the Bible heroes (and I’m sure I’m overlooking a few), I can’t recall any of them resting before their bodies simply couldn’t go anymore. Elisha, who had the double spirit of Elijah and was able to heal others, became sick and died from that illness. Even David, who fought battle after battle for the Lord, had a time when his body gave out. But there is a difference between our bodies giving out and letting our bodies atrophy. Which brings me to the next person on my list.
The Lady Who Encouraged me to Pole Vault
Toward the end of my high school career, they finally allowed women to pole vault. During a summer track meet, I watched a 62 year old lady take off full speed with a pole in her hand, plant it perfectly into the box, and watched as her body soared over the bar. It was so exciting! I must have looked overly enthused because after she rolled off the mat, she walked over to me and said,
If I can do it, you can do it.
The next week, I grabbed a pole and vaulted competitively for the first time. She did not let her age define her but instead defined her age. She decided what she would do and what she would be involved in and it encouraged those around her.
God has big plans for us and they are not defined by our age. Moses was 80 when he went to Pharaoh and demanded the Israelites out of Egypt. Joseph was 30 when God made him second in command of all Egypt. God does not limit when he will use us by our age. If we have faith, God is pleased and will use us!
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Two Little Old Ladies
Earlier this year I received a book to review that just happened to be titled Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the attitude! It was the book I needed to read this summer after such a difficult year. It was perfect because each chapter was short, but made me smile as well as think about my spiritual attitude and even reevaluate a few of my thoughts.
It’s rare to find a book that reads like a novel but can easily be considered a devotional book as well. Each short chapter is easily digestible and shares a thought, a scripture, and a prayer about the topic involved in the fictional characters’ lives at that moment. Although the chapters flow easily from beginning to end and crescendo like most fictional works do, one can easily skip around from chapter to chapter and be blessed by the message. I loved the wit and fun that Susan Meyers used to bring these two older sisters, Annabelle and Lillybell, to life. They are definitely fictional friends I will keep on my shelf and turn to from time to time for fun and encouragement, even though I’ve already read this book once.
I so enjoyed reading the adventures of these two older sisters, who are lively, centered in God’s word, and able to find fun and adventure in the every day occurrences of life.
My Favorite Part
One of my favorite chapters takes place in Myrtle’s House of Style, which is a beauty parlor situated in Myrtle’s garage. Annabelle exclaims:
“Don’t you just love it?”
“Love what?” Lillybelle inquired. She plucked a used laundry sheet off her sleeve and deposited it into the trash.
“That woman’s hair.”
Lillybelle squinted in the woman’s direction. “It’s got a purple streak in it.”
“Isn’t it marvelous? Do you think I could pull that off?”
“At your age?”
“Why not?” Annabelle ran her fingers through her long, silvery hair.
Lillybelle touched her own artfully styled gray waves. “You’re the one who always says she wants to be completely natural.”
“Yes, well, one must be open to change, and I like that purple! Where do you think she’s going after this? A swanky party? Or maybe a clandestine rendezvous?”…
As the conversation continues, this beautiful woman with the purple streak shows her true colors and they are ugly! Annabelle feels ashamed for thinking only about her beauty and not her heart. Disheartened by the interaction, Annabelle chooses to stay with her current hair style. Then, her sister pipes up,
“Not the usual. She wants a purple streak.”
Annabelle stared at her sister in surprise. “You want me to look like that ugly woman?”
“No, I want you to look like what you are. A woman of mystery who could be on her way to a clandestine rendezvous, but instead chooses to go sort clothes for the church clothing giveaway.”
This book popped to mind as I wrote this post. Its overall point fit in so well with the idea of being young at heart no matter the age. I highly encourage you to check it out.
It’s a Heart Thing
In the end, it always comes back to our heart. Are we living the full life God created us to have? Have we determined that because of our age that we are too young or too old to do something? Don’t let age define you. It’s just a number. Let Christ define you and as the Holy Spirit guides you, do!
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. – Proverbs 16:21
Be Young at Heart