Leona's Thoughts on Reaching 80
I thank God for the past, I celebrate the present, and anticipate the future
My habit of a lifetime is to take inventory of my progress regularly and listen to God's affirmation or correction. After I lived three-quarters of a century, I took time to evaluate my life in depth. As I review my life again after five more bonus years, I find that the marching orders God gave me than are still valid. I only need to fine tune them and apply them to my life at 80.
Chronologically---Realistically, statistically, I am in the final season of my life, sort of in the graduating class. Eighty is merely a number on the calendar--a "commencement," the first day of the rest of my life. God had a specific plan for me from before the foundation of the world which has been unfolding through many decades. (Ephesians 2:10) His will for all of us in our maturing years is that we "be anointed with fresh oil, bear fruit in old age, flourish like the palm tree, remain full of sap and very green." (Psalm 92) I have God's promise, "The Lord satisfies your life (your 'mouth' or 'years' in other translations) with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:5) Suddenly, or so it seems, I find myself the eldest in our family, the "matriarch," with all the responsibility that carries. I want to be faithful even in my imperfection.
Spiritually---I want to "put my house in order" not to retire but to rekindle the fire of my first love for God. Cultivating and nourishing my spirit, striving to know God more intimately, and worshiping Him more devotedly is my highest priority because it is my spirit that will continue alive throughout Eternity. Now that I have reached 80, I recommit to God my body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, will, all that I am, all that I have, all that I have become, all that I may yet become as God works on transforming me and conforming me to the image of Christ. I declare Jesus as Lord over every relationship, responsibility, and desire. I give to God not my leftovers but the ripest, sweetest fruit of aging. Where there is still plain water (areas in my life that need working on) I ask Jesus to turn it into wine, "the best wine saved until the last."
The following areas are still in progress--I have NOT attained--but I press on
Seek daily the presence of God and move on to a deeper relationship with Him.
Simplify my life, decrease my "stuff," generously give things away or decisively toss out.
Prioritize my goals, time, and efforts as if I had only a little time left on earth.
Anticipate that God may still give me generous time to live and serve Him here.
Eliminate pursuits that are no longer productive to life goals God has set for me.
Surrender cares and anxieties of this world that hinder my close walk with the Lord.
Find God's will where to press harder and--when to stop and smell those roses.
Obey promptly whatever God reveals as His purpose for me, cost what it may.
I want to stay open to positive change and remain like pliable clay in my Heavenly Potter's hands. The Bible records that 85 year old Caleb always "followed the Lord fully." That is what I want to do. In his advanced years he asked God for still "another mountain" to conquer.
Physically---My imperfect but heretofore serviceable earth suit (my body) which God issued me at birth, is aging, showing signs of wear, has mortal limitations and inevitable increasing frailties. Time and gravity reshape the ol' bod' regardless of efforts to feed it right and exercise it! Thank God He has given me 15 bonus years since my lung cancer surgery. I try to look upon "aging inconveniences" as trivial and thank God for whatever measure of health He gives. I try to watch my nutrition, get my medical checkups, and take whatever meds and vitamins are necessary.
Mentally---I try to continue pushing the horizons of my mind further to learn more, be more creative, respond to new challenges and opportunities and stay on the cutting edge of life. The more I stretch, the higher I can reach. I think, I hope that I am as alert as ever--thank You, Lord! I want to run not coast to the finish line.
Emotionally---"My cup runneth over!" I'm happy, contented, feel fulfilled yet eager for more of God's abundant life as I seek to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. I don't want to miss anything that God sovereignly planned for me. I'm smiling at God and hope He is smiling back at me as I try to please Him. I'm eager for any surprises He still has for me. I accept as good and perfect and the will of God whatever circumstances God chooses to bring into my life day by day. I want to celebrate each day as a gift from God!
Relaionally---I delight to spend time with my four adult sons and their families, ten grandchildren and two great-grands. God is so good. I am blessed to love and to be loved. I enjoy silence and time alone immensely as well as fellowship with others. God has blessed me my giving me riches in friends all over the world. I ask God to bring into my life all and only those He wants me to touch for Him or who will encourage and teach me of God's ways.
Productively---Yes, I'm still writing, and a few more books have been published. I have some serious work in progress, but I'm trying to learn to pace myself without deadlines. I want to eliminate the word "busy" from my vocabulary and substitute "fruit bearing." The fruit that pleases God may gorw best in waiting on Him, listening to His direction, and then "doing whatever He tells you."
God plans different things for us in each season of our lives. I want to live fully in His will in whatever season or stage of life I am. God has given me an abundance of opportunities and experiences in my long life and I am accountable to be a faithful steward. When God's allotted time for me on earth is over, and I have to turn in my earth suit, I may not think I am "finished." I will undoubtedly have lots of exciting things on the back burner that I would like to do and enjoy. But God, who planned my life, will count my work and life "complete" on that day. God has already given my long life. But if it pleases Him, I continue to ask for an extended time on earth to add to His glory. If He grants my desire or if He doesn't, it is good. Because I belong to the Lord it is His responsibility, not mine, to accomplish what concerns me. (Philippians 1:6) Therefore, when I leave for heaven, I want it to be a time for celebration not regret or sadness that I lived my life for less than God's glory. Jesus promised to His children eternal life after life on earth is over in His Father's House. Until then, or until Jesus comes again, I must be about my Father's business while there is time and while it is day. I want to make "the rest of the way" even more pleasing to God. Toward this I press on...
Leona Choy, June 2005