Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Old Are You Really?

Timeless, age defying, fountain of youth and reverse the signs are all buzz words in the fashion industry that seems to be the driving force for many. Magazine sales, department stores, tailors, jewelry designers, make up artists all depend and value what the fashion industry arrives at each year as their latest trend, color, style and appeal to the masses. I think you will always have the classic looks of an Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren and James Avery or Tiffany designs, but there is always that new thing that drives the sales, that drives the marketing for each year and that the industry depends on. I don't remember the last time I paid attention to it and hardly ever go shopping for myself, as my wardrobe probably reflects. I am hopelessly a candidate for TLC's "What Not to Wear" with Stacy and Clinton, but I manage to get one or two new things each year that suffice to add just a touch of update to my look. Or at least I think so, this could be up for debate.
Speaking of looks, I have started running again in hopes of making it to the Dec. 5th 1/2 marathon my family is participating in and I feel reeeeeeeally old. I am headed to Austin next week with the family to get some new shoes, so I am thinking that has something to do with my hobbling in the morning. Or does it really? Here I am with my husband standing on the finishers podium as finishers in Chicago.....I know I am capable of this, its just can I? Could it be that when I ran my last two marathons I was about 15 years Then for my birthday one of my friends gave me this neat book called "How Not to Look Old" by Charla Krupp. It has some really great tips and practical hints on what to do and not to do as you age. However, I keep finding my 12 year old reading it for she is very fashion conscious and loves that sort of stuff. All in all I think you are as old as you think you are. I know in my head I feel much younger than my body is telling me and I have to find out the hard way that I can't do certain things anymore. I pay for it later. It is frustrating for the body to be going the opposite direction your mind wants it to sometimes. I think of people like Jack Lalanne who have made it their business and lifestyle to staying healthy and fit. Gosh, can I just be like him then all will be well? I used to see him on television when I was young. Is it ever too late to start? He has been doing this always, it is what drives him up and out of the bed each day. It is his passion and in his heart. They say you can't reverse time, but you can certainly do some things about it to help slow it down. I am sure there are a million things I could and should be doing differently. Where to begin.
For me I have to start in my heart. If my heart is not interested then it will not convince my mind to stick with the program. I have to be 100% on board. Knowing myself well enough I will find every excuse in the book to weasel out of what I know is better for me. Interesting how that works. Why is it I do the very thing I know I hate? Why can't I just go for it and do it? Well God talks about that very thing in His Word. Romans 7:15 NAS " For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do , but I am doing the very thing I hate." The fault is not with the Law of God, which is spiritual, but the fault is with the law of sin, the "indwelling depravity of human nature, which rebels against God's laws". Paul declares here that he is carnal, a creature of the flesh, sold under sin, in captivity to sin. Throughout our life conflict goes on between the new nature and the old, but there is a way to victory: Christ frees us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Why do I fight it so? Is is that I think "I know best"? HELLO? As a believer we delight in our hearts and inward man in God's commandments, His precepts and Word, why then can we not delight all the time? It is our sinful nature to take the easier route and path. We are incapable of doing anything good without God. Everything that is good comes from God. It is God in us that gives us our sense of good in order to perform it, share it with others, but without Him living in us and through us we are more likely to allow and practice the sinful nature that dwells within each one of us. We can not discipline ourselves to behave as if we love Jesus. We can not love Jesus in a militant way either where the lack of Love, His love, gets lost somewhere in the unbending rules. I think Jesus flew by the seat of His pants more times than not, never knowing what He would encounter around the next corner, but always knowing He was prepared for anything. This is why it is so important to have His Love, His Word and Jesus in our hearts, written on our hearts so that we are prepared with whatever we encounter around the next corner. Whether or not we understand ourselves fully or not, what He desires for us is to know and come to an understanding of Him. As we come to know Him He reveals things about ourselves that help us come to a greater understanding of ourselves. Some are not so fun to look at, but He already sees them and still loves us. How often do we see things in others that keeps us from loving them? He wants us to love Him because He first loved us. He wants us to obey Him because we love Him. If we cannot accept God's Love, it is more difficult to love Him in return and I certainly cannot obey Him if I am not loving Him.
This goes back to my original statement about how if my heart is not on board about something I have a difficult time convincing my mind that is what I need to do. If my heart is on board then it is effortless and no struggle even enters in my thought process. The world will present itself, press in and attempt to cause me to give way to my sinful nature. Am I in pride to receive this free gift of grace from God? He wants nothing in return, and knows ahead of time that "there will be days like these" filled with doubt, anger, anguish, fear, but waits patiently with His Love. Our minds are incapable of communicating this to our hearts. With God it is always a heart issue, so pay attention to your hearts. I am in pride if I am unable to receive the free gift of grace from God. I don't have to feel guilty or like I have earned His grace. I am not above the charity of God even when I don't feel worth it. I am this way with receiving help from others......"no no I can do it". How many of us have said that? I say it too many times. Even though we know that God's way is the easier way we think it isn't. Matt. 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light". In the New Translation this verse reads "My yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light". This for me gives me tremendous confidence in my God, my Lord who not only tells me that following Him, carrying His yoke, His statutes, His precepts will be easy to bear, but also that He is with me while I am carrying them, why? Because He bears them with and for us. The burden He gives us is light doesn't mean here not heavy. I believe it is His light we are carrying. This world would tells us otherwise and that His Light is a burden if we follow. Burden here to me is not a hardship, but what God is asking of us to concentrate on, to work on, to carry out for Him while we are here to get His message to others.
In Don Millers Blue Like Jazz he speaks of his pastor who teaches,"Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God's Love will. The ability to accept God's unconditional grace and ferocious love is all the fuel we need to obey Him in return. Accepting God's kindness and free love is something the devil does not want us to do. If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His Love".
I know God's Love is so different from any knowledge I may know of love. I am so thankful to grow older in the knowledge of His Love as it strengthens my ability to grow old gracefully.

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