There is an expression by Charles R. Swindoll, author of The Grace Awakening: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” In other words, if you react to life’s changes with optimism, it can make a huge difference in the outcome. Another quote by the same author reads, “Anything under God’s control is never out of control.”
If we learn how to give our lives up to God’s will and embrace changes with positivity, we can lead long, happy, and fulfilling lives in Christ. The Bible gives us hints for how to maintain positivity through life’s trials and tribulations. Use the Scriptures to guide your attitude, and learn the secrets to aging with grace.
Change the Way You Think About Aging
Society has turned aging into something negative. Stereotypes such as believing the care of the elderly is bankrupting our country or that people retiring late are putting younger people out of work have made the elderly feel ashamed, useless, and like a burden to society. Yet studies have proven that the negative perception of aging is just that – a perception. The elderly are an integral demographic in society and do not significantly impact healthcare expenditures.
Thinking negatively about getting older can have a profound effect on physical and mental health. If you believe you are worthless and a burden to your friends and family in your old age, you won’t make an effort to stay active, healthy, and happy. You may lose contact with your friends and stop engaging in your favorite activities. Lack of motivation can lead to a health decline, hospitalization, and further demoralization. Reverse this cycle by changing the way you perceive aging.
Getting older does not mean the end of your life, but the beginning of a new life. Changes in your role within the family, church, and life can be frightening, but they don’t have to be negative. Instead, turn your seniority into a positive aspect of your life. You are in a unique position of respect and wisdom, fueled by decades of real-world experience. As Titus 2 states, as an older woman you have the God-given role to teach younger women how to be godly. You have more of a purpose in God’s plan than ever. Changing your mindset and embracing aging as an exciting step toward your future can go a long way toward positivity after retirement.
Develop a Christian Thought Life
Philippians 4:8 gives us Paul’s words telling us to think about positive things. To paraphrase, Paul tells us to think about “whatever is true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or praiseworthy.” Practicing this verse can help us develop health relationships. Yet Paul is not simply teaching the power of positivity – rather, he is teaching that the Christian’s thought life should focus on the truths of the Scripture. This discernment is important in the long-lasting happiness of Christian seniors.
Thinking on whatever is “true” means to think on God – the unchanging truth. Paul wants us to reflect on the qualities that stem from God Himself, and let them influence your decisions. Thus, it is not just the power of positive thinking that will carry you through life changes in old age, but the power of the Lord. Think on the things in Philippians 4:8 with the intent to focus on God and attain a Christian thought life as you get older.
Change Your Definition of Wellbeing
Throughout our lives, “wellbeing” means soundness of mind, body, and spirit. The definition of what wellbeing looks like for you, however, changes over time. Wellbeing in your 20s might mean having high energy and a great physique. The loss of these things as we age can make us believe that we are slipping out of wellbeing and into an irreversible decline. Yet aging is a normal, natural process. Aging may stiffen your joints, gray your hair, and lead to memory loss, but this does not mean you have lost your state of wellbeing. It just looks different to you with age.
Wellbeing as a senior citizen is subjective to how each individual experiences his or her life. It may mean having positive relationships with friends and family, self-awareness, ability to accept changes, or a healthy sense of humor. It is a state of personal growth and flourishing mental and emotional health, even in the face of major lifestyle changes. Once you accept this new definition of wellbeing, you’ll see your aging body as a blessing, not a curse.
Trust God’s Plan for You
Getting older comes with many unexpected – and often unwelcome – changes. You may notice your eyesight failing or you may have difficulty walking up the stairs of your home. Your family may begin to treat you differently, as if they are expecting you to fall ill at any moment. You may feel unhelpful at church ministries, while younger members take over tasks you used to be in charge of. Retirement can bring with it many questions of self worth and your place in life. The key to staying positive is realizing that God has a plan for you.
The sense of purpose that drove you in your younger days to seek a fulfilling career, marry the love of your life, or raise a beautiful family in Christ hasn’t gone anywhere. It may just be hiding. If you’re feeling lost or confused amid a sea of changes in your life, remember to pray. His will is guiding your steps, and each unexpected change is just another stepping-stone. Even in the face of tragedy, trust that it is happening for a reason, and that God will reveal His master plan for you in good time.
Giving up your daily strife to the Lord removes the burden from your shoulders and enables you to go with the flow of life more easily. Don’t let a setback such as a health problem mean the end of life as you know it. Respond to unexpected change in positive ways, and ask Him to guide you to what He wants you to accomplish. Recite the Serenity Prayer, which begins: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” in times of trouble, and trust God’s plan for you as you advance in age.