How to Pass the Half-Century Mark in Victory
There’s a book proposal collecting dust on my self. It was never published.
A marketing director nixed it because he said that books about aging don’t sell. He said that women don’t buy books about aging because they don’t want to think about their own aging. He’s probably right! But here’s the truth…
We’re all aging. (Here’s where we all laugh with a little hint of hysteria.)
Not only am I aging, but I just hit a significant marker, the half-century mark. I’m telling you the truth when I tell you that I’m not feeling anything but excitement. I wasn’t angst-y over this birthday like I was about 30 and 40. This one feels like a VICTORY to me! In response to a much-loved younger friend who teased me on Facebook that surely I was about to turn 30, I put the laughing-until-you-cry emoji and said, “Wouldn’t give up my years of experience for anything. I earned them!” I really feel that way.
But I am feeling something else too. I’m feeling others’ perceptions of me shifting. I was never hip, but I used to be young! Now I’m neither, and I know everybody else knows it too–primarily by the number of times I get called “m’am” here in the south.
We live in a youth-driven culture, and being of a certain age means a growing marginalization. This is the part that stings, and I don’t like it.
I mean I REALLY don’t like it.
That subtle marginalization, not my age, is what has had me feeling snippy for the last month or so, but God has been challenging me and giving me a mindset-shift in the last few days.
I’ve listened to two sermons in the last two weeks that God has used to challenge me. The first one is from my friend Amanda, who shared at her church about Me-Ism, a self-centered version of Christianity. I didn’t want to see myself in that message, but I sure did.
The second sermon that I listened to today was by my son’s pastor, Michael Clary, at Christ the King Church in Cincinnati. He’s doing a series on Ecclesiastes that’s rocking my world. At the end of his exposition, he shared a quote from Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf who said, “Preach the Gospel. Die forgotten.” Do you feel the quake under your feet too?
I understand that we’re all made in God’s image and precious to Him, but God used these two messages to show me that I’ve become too precious to myself. My image, my reputation, my ministry and the way others perceive me have become overly important to me (again).
The reason I’ve been struggling with this shift in perception because of my age (which I believe is real, not just my overactive imagination) is that I have slipped into an over-sized belief in my own importance. Do you hear echoes of Sharon’s post from last week?
Surprisingly, that realization and the repentance that followed feels like peace, not pain.
Jesus girls… my friends… God loves us dearly, but we’re to love Him exclusively. When we do, others’ perceptions of us–whether based on status, degrees, age, race, whatever– become insignificant. Let’s heed the call to action, “Preach the gospel” in whatever way God is showing us. For me, I think it’s going to look like empowering the next generation to lead instead of doing so much leading myself. It’s going to be stepping out of some spotlights to make a space for the next voice God wants to use. If I do those things right, it will be a victory not a loss.
And then let’s embrace “Die forgotten.” Not because we don’t matter but because it’s eternal life that really does matter.
Let’s step out of Me-Ism squarely back into Theism, laser-focused on God, where we’ve always belonged.
It’s a significant birthday that’s led me to a closer look personally. Maybe in your life it’s been something else. I want to share thoughts about aging here because these aren’t things I’ve ever had older women share with me. Maybe it’s true that books on aging won’t sell, because women sure don’t talk about it!
Younger women, soak it in a little, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Older women, you’ve walked this road before me, and I want to know what you already know. Please share your experiences!
I always share with you what’s fresh on my heart, and this is it. For the next few weeks, I’m going to process here and maybe share some of that old book proposal. Let’s share as a community and grow better as we grow older!
Congratulations to the winners of the Giveaways!
Linda Chandler is the winner of Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer. Linda Gray, Julie Cordry and Betty Jo Nelson are the winners of Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller.
I’ve emailed each of you and will forward your mailing address to the author’s team. Enjoy!
Amazing story – I am older now and I can look back and see where I put my ex husband up on top instead of God and it ended up being a horrible marriage. I expected him to be perfect and take care of me. At the time not knowing he did not even want to be in the marriage in the first place – I could not understand what was happening. I did everything I could to help this person and completely forgot about myself. It did not last long and I can tell you almost 30 years later I can say the past 10 years I have put God on top and my whole life is different. I am single but I believe if it is God’s will I will have a chance for love again one day and that man will love me and want to be with me. I would love the bible study – thank you – hopefully I will get picked.
Amy, I love your idea of a book on aging. In a couple weeks I will be celebrating my 67th birthday. I do not mind my gray (almost white) hair, all these fine wrinkles on my face, and the stiffness I often feel mornings.I have earned it all!
I love, love, love that I now have 3 grandchildren: 3 yrs,, 1 yr,, and 3 months. I miss them a lot since they live in the US and we live down here in Mexico, but I get to see them often on Skype.
The year I turned 50, I returned to school and finished my last 2 years for a BA in English. Then at age 55 I earned my MA in English, as well. I have now been retired for over 5 years. I love this time that I now have to read, study my Bible, participate in on-line Bible studies, sew, crochet, garden, cook, bake, and visit with friends. Best of all, I have lots of time to spend with my hubby of 37+ years.
Can’t wait for your book!
Maribeth, I love hearing all the adventures God has taken you on since you’ve turned 50! Thank you for encouraging all of us that the best is always yet to come when we’re following Jesus.
Amen, Amy! Write it, sister! I recently wrote a blog post about accepting ourselves at every age and releasing the shame that comes with age in our society. Thank you for reminding us to rejoice with our age rather than regretting it. 🙂
Well said! Rejoicing over regretting.
Oh, Amy, all I can say is… me too! I had that same feeling when I turned 50… like no one would see me anymore 🙁 While that is true for some people, by the time I was 55 I realized I didn’t care anymore! When I saw Sharon’s post, I thought, “I should get that book”… I still have the tab open in my browser. Now that I’ve read your post today, I know that I REALLY should get that book!! Thanks for all the encouragement you give me every day… and love your podcast!! 🙂
I talked to one of the precious women in our church yesterday, and she shared that she’ll turn 90 this year. Since I want to age just like her, I’m encouraged to see her spirit growing stronger even as her body grows weaker!
That is my prayer too! I pray almost every day, “Please don’t let me be a crabby old person! Please don’t let me be a crabby old person!” So I guess I have to practice not being a crabby person now 😉
Amy, this is powerful! I have been grieving the loss of a particular season of life for several months now, as my children are no longer babies, and no longer completely reliant on me. I have a new driver, a new middle schooler, and a new tween, and it has been hard on this momma. I’m loving so many aspects of their current ages, but am finding myself missing their little selves more so than ever.
God is asking me to reach out to a particular group of young women within our church. These young women were once a part of our youth and college groups, and now they, too, are grown. LIFE IS SO WEIRD and time is CRAZY WEIRD! I hesitate to do what I know He’s asking of me, only because I have this preconceived notion that they’ll think I’m crazy for even thinking they’d want to “hang” with me for a couple of hours. I know this isn’t true, but the enemy knows our weaknesses, and the mind can certainly be a battlefield, can’t it?!
I’m grateful for your transparency, Amy. I’m grateful for the truths displayed here. And I’m grateful for women like you… godly women… who are paving the way for women like me. Thank you!
Transitions that come with aging are tough. There’s no doubt about it! When we follow Jesus, though, there’s always purpose in the next phase of life. I’m so grateful to Him!
You spoke at Women’s Connection at our church this past Saturday and I enjoyed it so much. I think your publisher is wrong about a book on aging. Most women want to age gracefully. We’re going down a “new” road and it can be difficult. Our bodies are changing, people’s perceptions of us may be changing. Our own perception of ourself is changing. I read a quote this morning, ” Learn from history–and get the heck out of there!” We learn so much from experiences, why not share with each other and younger women, too!? But, we can learn from younger women, too. Your book could be a great study tha could be done in the church to bring intergenerational women together more often instead of once a year! So many experiences to share and learn from! Do the book!!
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Linda! I love the way your church is working to connect the generations. I might give that book a try again after all!
Good morning Amy, yes I too believe the aging book would be worth the read. I just turned 74 this month .
I’ll be glad when I get through this lesson He’ s teaching me , I haven’t learned my lesson that ” God is enough”
I do well for A while then I get the lesson again. I’ve been a believer for 40 years & every 5- 6 wks I go through a 2 wk spell of being angery / frustrated over everything . I drop things etc. Tho some of that anger is much better. I ‘ m soooo thankful we have a neighbor / mentor 3 years now, she loves the Lord & we have prayer weekly / anytime we each need a prayer . I know I’ m self ebsorbed, why can’t I let go ? For 3 years I’ve been through Prov. 31 Bible studies, prayer time w/ my neighbor , this is why I get frustrated that I haven’t been healed , yes , I attend a Bible believeing church 3 times a week.
I told my neighbor yesterday that I’m tired, so why don’t I feel this healing I’ve clamed ?
Gail, I’m so glad you have a friend walking through this season with you. She sounds like God’s provision for sure! I’m praying for you right now to learn more about the sufficiency of God through your struggles. That’s a lesson I want to learn too!
Amy~I absolutely love the thought of an aging book. The ups and downs of shifting stages of life. The insecurities that tangles and trips us up. To share our messy moments with the younger generation AND the wisdom that flows from the messy. I am a new creation because of God’s aging process. I love the number I am about to turn in a few weeks, 52.
Yesterday, I attended MOPS for the first time as a mentor. As I sat back and listened I felt out of place for a hot second. I told a friend afterwards I forgot about the concerns of that age and stage of life. It was foreign; however, that was me 25 years ago. Wow.
Yes, letting go of me each day. Allowing God to be seen…even in my still messy moments. Age, messy, and honest are real in every stage of life. These are the times God uses us the most.
Thank you, Amy ❤️
I love when organizations like MOPS put the generations together. How much we have to learn from each other! The women in your group are blessed to have you!