The Older I get!

I’ll be 84 at the end of 2023. These days it seems that I find myself thinking a lot more about life, death and leaving a lasting legacy. Every day I read the obits just to make sure my name isn’t there! Maybe I have 5-10 years left; obviously I don’t know for sure. I’m currently enjoying relatively good health for which I’m very grateful. I’m doing a lot of reflection and evaluation these days.

I believe I’m more sensitive to the Lord as to what He is showing me and teaching me. The person who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks has never met a hungry dog. I’m still hungry to learn, grow and change.

Recently while meandering through Face Book, I ran across a song sung by Alan Jackson (who will be 60 on October 17, 2018). I generally don’t listen to country music much and don’t know a lot about Alan Jackson, but this song really got to me and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it’s communicating.

Check it out on iTunes. Regardless of how old you are, I think you’ll like it. It’s chock full of authenticity. I love the words and the sound of Alan’s voice. The song was released in October of 2017.

Here are the lyrics written by Adam Wright, Hailey Whitten and Sarah Alison Turner:

“The Older I Get” recorded by Alan Jackson

The older I get
The more I think
You only get a minute, better live while you’re in it
‘Cause it’s gone in a blink
And the older I get
The truer it is
It’s the people you love, not the money and stuff
That makes you rich
And if they found a fountain of youth
I wouldn’t drink a drop and that’s the truth
Funny how it feels I’m just getting to my best years yet
The older I get
The fewer friends I have
But you don’t need a lot when the ones that you got
Have always got your back
And the older I get
The better I am
At knowing when to give
And when to just not give a d—
And if they found a fountain of youth
I wouldn’t drink a drop and that’s the truth
Funny how it feels I’m just getting to my best years yet
The older I get
And I don’t mind all the lines
From all the times I’ve laughed and cried
Souvenirs and little signs of the life I’ve lived
The older I get
The longer I pray
I don’t know why, I guess that I’ve
Got more to say
And the older I get
The more thankful I feel
For the life I’ve had, and all the life I’m living still

Here are some of my thoughts about this song and why I resonate so deeply with it. I’m not through processing yet, but this is where I am at the moment:

Life is brief and frail (James 4:14; Psalm 39:4) I want to be “All In” with the years I have left.

I want to focus on what’s important: Relationships not money, stuff, power, position, accolades or applause.

I don’t wish to be younger but to look forward and “…keep going on” (Phil 3:12 Phillips Translation). As I age I don’t want to be looking back with doubts or regrets, but rather looking to the years I have left.

May the next few years be my best years yet; I truly believe that will be the case.

I have lots of people who know me but I only have my family and a few really good and close friends who have my back. Maybe that’s it, and it’s all I need at this point. Time will tell.

I want wisdom as to what to give my time and energy to; learning the difference between being concerned and being responsible; what to say yes to and what to say no to, and when to just not give a d—.

I wouldn’t choose to use the “D” word and some of you may find it offensive, but I think I know what it means: Being overly concerned with what everybody else thinks about me. I want to be through with that. What God thinks is all that really matters. I want to listen to and learn from others, hear their rebukes or criticisms,  but not be controlled or discouraged by them. I want to live and minister for an audience of One. At the end I stand alone before God and no one else.

I have laughed and cried (more easily moved to tears these days) and have little souvenirs and signs of the life I’ve lived; a few plaques and a few words tucked away here and there as reminders of the way that He has led me, cared for me, met my needs and the needs of my family and used me beyond my wildest dreams.

I’m praying more now than ever before. Maybe my greatest contribution going forward will be praying for leaders with whom He has given me relationships. I’m not sure I have more to say in prayer; probably doing more listening, but I surely have more to rejoice over and weep over with these leaders, (2 Corinthians 11:27,28); the pressure of my concern for all the leaders in all these churches.

Certainly I am more thankful for the life I’ve had and all the life I’m living still.  I want to die with a grateful heart and a smile on my lips. No bitterness, anger, regrets or resentment. By Your grace it shall be so. I want to be a leader who lasts and finish my particular race well. I want to be led by Him, empowered by Him and honor Him with whatever years I have left.