As we age as human beings, life has a way of humbling us. We are invariably, and often painfully reminded that we just cannot do the things we used to do with the same passion and intensity that we did when we were younger.
Youthful exuberance is a good thing, it’s what drives us to take on new challenges, strive to learn new things, and enables us to accept a constantly changing world with grace. At the same time, with age comes wisdom, and the ability to carefully select which challenges we will endeavour to participate in and which battles we will walk away from.
Sometimes, we take on challenges that are beyond our natural capacity to maintain, let alone succeed at. The mind remembers, and the heart is willing, but the body just will not cooperate. We face the setbacks of an aging body that needs far more time to recover from ordinary living, let alone from illness and/or injury.
It is at precisely times like this that I am reminded to go back to the basics. A time to reflect on what is truly important to me and a time to set realistic goals of how I am going to get to the place that I desire. I think that this is precisely where many of us fail in life. We set unrealistically high goals based on desire alone without considering the cost and/or making an honest evaluation of our own time, energy, and motivation to get there. Time, energy, and motivation are moving targets that constantly change. We either adapt to this perpetual day-to-day change in a reasonably healthy and positive way or we begin that downward slide towards mediocrity and, perhaps, disappointment with ourselves and even those around us.
For me, going back to the basics includes taking a good hard look at my own spirituality and my relationship with God as I understand Him. Is my spirit healthy? Is my conscience clear? When others look into my eyes, the very window to my soul, what do they see? Do they see hardship, pain, sorrow? Do they see anger, arrogance and contempt? Or do they see peace, contentedness, and joy?
For those that would mock spirituality and the concept of God being present in our world, I would implore you to take a long look into your own reflection in the mirror and tell me what you see. Is there light in your eyes or a deep impenetrable darkness? Only you can answer that question with any degree of certainty.
But, please keep in mind that God loves you… right where you are at, and is willing to receive you as His own.
It is my understanding and experience that it is the indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that brings healing and wholeness to the human soul which in turn brings renewed strength and health to our mortal bodies and minds.
…from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38b NASB
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; Isaiah 40:31a KJV
These three aspects of our existence – body, mind, and soul represent our humanity, our very personhood, and are inseparable. It is what distinguishes us as unique amongst all creation. It is also true that these three aspects of our humanity work interdependently in order for us to achieve our goals and carefully laid plans in this life. But, what if we fail?
I do not believe there is blame in failing to achieve our heart’s desire to succeed and thrive in the good things that we take on in life. As a wise young woman once said to me:
Human beings are frail creatures…
In spite of our best intentions, life does not always go according to plan. But does that mean we should just give up and throw in the proverbial towel? May it never be!
For those that may be struggling, and feel that you have failed to achieve your dreams and goals in life, perhaps floundering in the very purpose you sense God has for your life – I want to encourage you to keep trying. It is not how you start the race but how you finish.
Never give up…it is ALWAYS TOO SOON to QUIT!
Go back to the basics and re-evaluate what is most important to you. Formulate a new plan, based not merely on human knowledge and intelligence, but based on a new-found or renewed relationship with God, as you understand Him at this particular point in your life. There is no shame in starting small – certainly God does not despise the person of small beginnings.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin… Zechariah 4:10a NLT
Besides, the human feelings and emotions of shame, disappointment, and disillusionment are a heavy burden to bear – something that we were never intended to carry alone. Jesus Christ took all that upon Himself on the cross in order that we would be set free.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 NLT
So, does that mean we will no longer experience shame, disappointment, or even disillusionment in this life? Of course not! But it does mean that we are not alone in our human experience of suffering. Be greatly encouraged, compared to eternity, life on this great blue marble is only but a short while.
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17 NLT
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