I'm Choosing to Age Gracefully

I saw a picture of a gray-haired Barbie doll online the other day and thought, Wow! I hope I look that good when I'm old! Besides her long silvery coiffure, this "Very Old Barbie" has puffy eyes and wrinkles on her forehead, upper lip, and neck . . . and charming "smile lines." (It's probably a good thing they don't show "Very Old Barbie" below her shoulders.)

In these days, when commercials abound for anti-aging creams, "lifts" for double chins, and "guaranteed" wrinkle removers, the focus seems to be on preserving a youthful look. This might be tough as I get older. I already have more wrinkles than a Shar Pei pup!

Aging well requires intentionality.

But I wonder if we, as Christians, ever think about aging gracefully . . . or preparing to live in eternity with God? Thankfully, everything (body, soul, and spirit) will be perfected for those who are in Christ (1 Thess. 5:23–24). Oh, how I am longing for that day!

My spiritual mentor, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, says, "Since I was a little girl, my goal in life has been to be a godly, old lady. I've always had this image of what this godly, old lady looks like." I don't know too many women who had such foresight as a child, but I've also had a picture in my mind of godly aging, and it includes a lot more than physical appearance. Watching the godly grandmothers in my life, as well as women I respect, I've come to understand:

Aging well requires intentionality.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art." And works of art require skill, an investment of time, and creative effort.

I decided, long ago, to invest in my "old age." The first thing I did was pray for wisdom. Then I asked God to create the "Very Old Dawn" He wanted me to be. On my part, cooperating with God was all about choices. Over the years, I've been learning to embrace and apply the Scriptures that will make me more like God's Son.

Here are some of my aging gracefully choices:

Understand, I am not perfect in choosing these things. Not at all. But at least I have a biblical template for my choices, and overall, my choice is to partner with God in my sanctification as I follow Jesus—to decide to surrender, trust, and obey—to triumph, ultimately, in godly maturity.

There is an old Hasidic saying that describes exactly how I feel about aging: "For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest." Every season of life is special, but this season of the harvest is so fulfilling—precious time with opportunities to pour into other women's lives and unique opportunities to bless my children and grandchildren, seeking to pass onto them a hunger for God.

For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.

If the Lord does not return before I die, someday people will likely sit at my memorial service or funeral and consider my relatively short life (in terms of eternity). I hope they will say they saw something of Jesus in me. I hope they will say I numbered my days and applied my heart to wisdom. I hope they will say I lived for a Kingdom greater than any kingdom I could ever hope to build here on earth.

That would make "Very Old Dawn" very happy. Better still, I think that testimony would please my Father God. It will be worth the investment!

How about you? No matter your physical age right now, how are you investing today in your old age? Do your investments count for eternity?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, publishes at Upgrade with Dawn and besides writing for TrueWoman.com—she also writes “wiki-type” answers at Christianity.com and is a regular columnist for Crosswalk.com. Dawn occasionally travels with her husband in ministry with Pacesetter Global Outreach.

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