It was thirty years ago this week that I boarded an airplane and headed to Zambia. I had just finished university and was looking for an opportunity to serve somewhere in the world. It was a wonderful two years and the experience has benefitted me many times over. This week, I’m checking my math. How could that possibility have been thirty years ago? I can’t be that old.
When I went to Zambia, I thought anyone over the age of 30 was really old. Now I’m reflecting on my own life and thinking back three whole decades. Doesn’t that make me almost ancient?
Thinking about getting old (or older) can be a little depressing. James asks, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14), while the Psalmist encourages us to number our days and grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) The point is clear: life goes by quickly.
It does go by quickly, yet rather than despair, I find myself with a growing sense of gratitude. I have had so many wonderful opportunities in this life. My wife and four children bring immense joy. Extended family and friends have always been supportive. And there is still more to see and explore in this world. Life is just getting started.
Thirty years ago, I was running at a fast pace and worried about what to do with my life. Now I can enjoy each day without feeling like I have something to prove or strive to achieve. There are still dreams and goals to follow. However, I’m more comfortable in my own skin knowing that Jesus loves me as I am. A lot of spiritual growth happens over time as well.
I’ve grown and changed a lot in the last thirty years. Sure, there have been difficult times and growth can be painful. Growing older is a privilege that some people never get. I hope to keep enjoying this journey as long as the Lord gives me breath. Don’t fear tomorrow or getting older: just take each day as a gift from God.