No Pain, No Gain

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Ruminations of the birthday girl …

I’m at that difficult point in life where I’ve had to admit that I’m past my prime. Already, at 45, my brain isn’t as sharp as it used to be, my energy level is beginning to decline and I’ve had to start giving up a few things I love…kayaking because of the arthritis in my back and shoulders … bicycling because of the bursitis in my hips … eating spicy food without regretting it for the rest of the night …

Contrary to the idea of growing “comfortable in my own skin”—I’ve actually grown uncomfortable in it.  I’ve realized that I’m just no longer attached to the physical aspects of my being (disease will do that to you too, but that’s another story). My tired old body is just the shell that houses my spirit in my time on earth. It takes a lot more maintenance now and that grows tiresome. I’m sure it’s God’s way of slowly preparing us for leaving our bodies behind and moving on to our eternal existence. Aside from a maturing spirit, you can’t take it with you anyway …

Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit. Bodily fitness has limited value, but spiritual fitness is of unlimited value, for it holds promise both for this present life and for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8

My lifelong battle with depression no longer scares me. I’ve even learned to be amused by my darker side on occasion. I see it coming much sooner and can usually stay a step ahead of it—or recognize when to simply stop and let it pass.  I don’t try to hide it any more, because I know I can contain it when I need to with God’s help and by focusing on all that I have to be grateful for.

I’ve given up my quest for perfection in my own pursuits by finally learning to admit my shortcomings and seeking excellence in God’s strength instead of trying to rely on my own limited abilities. Accepting my weaknesses has stripped a good amount of ego out of the equation. It never served me well anyway. I’ve traded in decades of being a control-freak for years of pursuing peace. A nap is often more appealing than a party these days and I now adore slipper socks instead of high heels.

While this process of aging can be both mentally and physically painful, I’ve learned that the old adage is true … no pain, no gain … even when it comes to spiritual fitness.  I wouldn’t consider trading all that I’ve learned and all the experience I’ve gained to return to the perky body of my youth. The pearls of wisdom that I’ve received through the process of aging are worth far more, and I can share what I’ve learned to help others in spiritual need.

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18

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One response to “No Pain, No Gain

  • toshowthemjesus

    Happy birthday! I can relate to laughing at the darker side. With maturity there comes an understanding that this life involves pain and struggle. I guess getting older means we don’t fight against it so much:) Great post–thanks for being real!

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