This month, I’m breaking my way into a new decade – turning the big 4-0. But, to be honest, last year, on my 39th birthday, I began a grieving process of the thirties which I have loved. My daughter teases me that I’ve been celebrating my 40th for a full year now – but the truth is that I’ve been struggling with it longer than I’ve celebrated it.
What is it about a number that seems to deflate so many of us?
A few months ago, a woman, perhaps a decade ahead of me, offhandedly commented that “it’s all downhill after 40” as though I have officially peaked in life and I can now expect things to just get worse from here. Health, appearance, energy, mental capacity, strength, and certainly beauty if culture has anything to say about it.
But moments after she spoke such unguarded death in her casual comment, the Lord spoke – not an audible voice, though He may speak that way on occasion – but quietly within my soul. He said, “It only gets better from here.” I had a choice in that moment to believe that this pending milestone would mark the end of my value and strength and appeal, or it could be one more powerful ledge on my long climb up the mountain – growing ever closer to God and others and my true self as He has created me to be.
So this past year, this final hoorah of my thirties, has become an investment in deeper health. For me, this has included intermittent fasting, strength training, flexibility training, endurance training, and the solidification of life-giving habits: daily time in the Bible, plenty of sleep, reducing obligations along with the perpetual sense of rushing I used to have, beneficial supplements, and more.
Perhaps much of this seems lowly and unspiritual, but God has shown me more and more how my body affects my soul and my soul affects my body. I cannot so easily be compartmented; I am a complex and intertwined being, just as you are. We are here briefly and we are here eternally.
My word this year has been sacrament – a physical substance which reveals a spiritual offering. I have continually returned my physical efforts to the Lord as spiritual offerings because, after all, this physical body He’s equipped me with is the vessel through which I do all ministry on this side of heaven.
So, hello 40! Here’s to the best years ahead of me. Here’s to greater depth, purpose, identity, ministry, growth, strength, focus, and love.
What milestone do you face? Is there fear attached with its coming?
Take a moment and ask God what He says about it. Give Him time to speak to you, through a picture, a word in your spirit, a comment from a friend, a scripture, a circumstance, or any other beautifully unique way He may choose to speak!