Thursday, April 12, 2012

50 and cruising?

I heard on the radio today a woman talking about how great it is to be 50. She said, "I've traded in my to-do list for my bucket list." Expanding on her rather witty remark, she said that she is at the stage in life where she gets to do what she WANTS to do rather than what she HAS to do.

Today, I am 35 and head deep in the homeschooling, dish washing, laundry folding, child training, sibling referring, husband-career building years. Today, I cannot imagine being 50, a time in my life when homeschooling my children will be done (at least it better be). I will no longer be breaking up sibling conflicts or training them in proper table manners and how to share their 'toys' (at least I hope not). My husband's career will be well established and earning the benefits of today's long hours (at least it better be).

While my life today is full of things I have to do, I don't want to embrace an expectation that when 50 comes I will finally have reached the point in life where I get to do what I want to do. It's "me" time. It's time to cash in on all the years of me pouring out my life in service to my children, husband and others.

I'm not assuming that the woman on the radio station was living a life as I just described, but I will say that when I hear statements such as the one she made, it does make me stop and think. If I do not plan now to serve later and to my dying day, I will by default embrace such a mentality. I will get to 50 and think, "Ok, it's my turn to take."

If you were a fly on our walls, you'd hear me share a particular scripture with my children nearly everyday. And, frankly I need to be reminded myself everyday, too. It is Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Because my Savior, Jesus, who is King of Kings and Creator of all, came to earth as a humble servant, I am compelled to follow in His steps. I am compelled to serve and keep on serving even at 50 and beyond.

In this season of my life, I feel sort of forced into serving many days. But, another season is coming...or so I've been told, when I will have more freedom to choose whether or not I serve, who I serve, how much I serve, etc. I pray that I will indeed choose to serve with much vigor and humility. I pray that I will not adopt an "it's my turn to do what I want to do" attitude toward life. As John Piper states it, I pray I will not "collect seashells" and "waste my life" in self indulgence and comfort in my older years.

**Anyone who happens to read this may remind me of this in 15-30 years...please do!**

For further, and much better articulated, thoughts on this topic, listen to one of the following two messages by John Piper:


Briana Almengor said...

And truthfully, I can adopt the "it's me time" mentality even now in this season. It's just harder to actually get it. :) I need the reminder of Mark 10:45 today as much as I will need it in 15-30 years from now!

Danielle said...

I think it's good to not expect we'll have time to "cruise" when we reach retirement stage. Because life is not often what we expect, and if we hold onto an expectation that's not met, we can grow very bitter. I think of my mom working 12 hour days, Josh's mom, Debbie Pryor who thought life would go one way but is now a widow needing to work full-time to provide for herself, Debbie Reyes caring for a sister and mother, Diane Smith battling cancer, and the list goes on! Not to mention many women are very depressed once they reach the empty nest stage.

That's not to say we should assume the worst will happen. On the flip side, I think it's also important that doing what we WANT isn't mutually exclusive to serving God. They don't necessarily oppose each other. God gives us desires/skills/talents and very often allows us to use them to their full potential--in the retirement/empty nest stage--bringing joy to ourselves and others because we're serving the way He wired us and glorifies Him.

Danielle said...

Clarification: I wasn't saying the women I named were bitter, I was saying life turned out different than they thought it would be at this stage in life. :) Just to be clear!!

Briana Almengor said...

Danielle, That's great input for me especially who can tend to look at life through the lens of a "martyr", assuming that God's going to always ask me to serve in ways that run counter to my natural gifting, inclinations and delights. I do need the reminder that while God does sometimes call us to serve out of weakness and sacrificially, it doesn't always go that way.

And, I understood that you were not implying the named women to be bitter. ;) But, thanks for clarifying for some who may not know them. They are among the women I consider practical heroes, those seeking to serve rather than coast!