THE AGE FACTOR

Let’s face it. A lot of us have become prisoners to the age factor (obstacle number two, the second source of my anxiety). Refer to: THE ISSUE WITH TIME  for obstacle number one.

I used to have my whole life mapped out– what I was going to do and accomplish by a certain age.

None of it happened that way.

To be honest, I thought by now I would be flourishing in my career and living a successful and happy life. I don’t even have a career, but I am happy– or at least I’ve learned to be– because that wasn’t always the case.

I still have some days where I get down on myself for not being where I thought I would be, but for the most part I’ve learned to accept it, deal with it, and move forward.

I thought that by the age of thirty I would have accomplished so many things, but it didn’t turn out that way.

I had grown to the place of thinking, what’s the point now? why does it matter? That is to say that accomplishing anything at the age of thirty or after was of no importance or significance to anyone (at least not the things that I wanted to accomplish).

But God had to show me that my thinking was all wrong:

First… We don’t determine success by what age something is accomplished. Most people when they have accomplished a goal by a certain age feel a sense of pride. And the first thing that they (we) do is begin to brag. I’ve accomplished (fill in the blank) and I’m only such and such age. We’ve all done it. We’ve all been there. We’re all guilty.

It becomes a problem however, when we get to the age that we thought we should have accomplished a goal by and it doesn’t happen. Years pass… and it STILL hasn’t happened. Now we begin to see the thing that we wanted to accomplish as being less significant or important.

I’m convinced that the main reason we’ve come to believe accomplishing that goal isn’t important or significant is because we don’t get to brag anymore. Who cares if you’re thirty years old and just bought a house. Someone will say, so what, I bought a house at twenty-five years old. I’m convinced that we’ve trained our minds to believe that we have to be “accomplishing” at the same rate and on the same scale, and at the same age as everyone else and if we aren’t then we begin to think less of ourselves. If the only reason that you wanted to accomplish that goal by a certain age is to say that you did it, then you’re WRONG!

Here’s why:

Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another. Galatians 5:26 (AMPC)

You may not think that’s the reason you’re so adamant on accomplishing that goal by that age, but I challenge you to do some deep searching and you’ll find that it’s all vanity.

Then, we get caught up into thinking that because we’ve reached a certain age, our goals are no longer attainable. My one goal in life has always been to be successful. I never cared about what I was successful in as long as it was something that I enjoyed. I thought about being a writer a long time ago, but I gave up on that idea. Now I’m here, at thirty-one years of age (soon to be thirty-two) trying to attain a goal of being a writer– a dream that I believe God revived within me. My thoughts were, now? you want me to do this now? at this age? that’s crazy. 

In my mind it doesn’t make sense to start pursuing my aspirations of being a writer at this age. Mainly because I feel like I’ve already wasted too much time. I’m thinking about how far and how long I would have to go before I see any success from it.

I’d almost rather do something else because I think it would be more attainable than trying to accomplish this.

But none of this is down within our power or our own strength. While we may put forth the effort and exertion, it’s God that gives us the grace and ability to accomplish what He has put in our hearts to do. It’s Him who has given us His spirit that will allow us attain the goal, the dream and the aspiration that He revived in us– no matter the age.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

We are the ones who see things as attainable or not according to our age. That is a limitation that we have put on ourselves, other people, and God. But as I’m growing in my faith, I’m learning that he’s not concerned with superficial aspects of what the world believes can be attained and should be attained at a certain age. That would be considered a “custom” of the world, which God tells us not to be conformed to.

I think if we really sat down and assessed our reasoning behind wanting to accomplish goals by a certain age and furthermore why we believe a goal is no longer attainable by or after a certain age, we’d find that the source of our anxiety concerning age comes from societal standards about when things should be done. Again, I want to challenge you to sit with yourself and sit with God in prayer and sort these ideas out. For me, it’s a constant renewal of the mind, it’s a constant need to remind myself of who God is. If I’m going to believe in Him, I must begin to tear down the mentality that age is an issue when it comes to chasing dreams and pursuing passion. If we believe in our hearts the direction in which we are taking is inspired by God then we must begin to adopt His ways and give the world theirs back.

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