Growing old gracefully and healthily means wholeness in every aspect of life, including the body, soul, and spirit that are interconnected in us as human beings. My experience and observation through the years show that spirit health is key to wholeness in all aspects.
My family was very religious and I went to a good school run by CICM priests and nuns that laid a good foundation for my moral conduct and spiritual moorings. But it was my exposure to a vibrant group of Christians in college in 1971 that led to a personal decision of trusting Jesus Christ alone as my Savior and Lord, not my good works or religion. That decision became a turning point and opened up a whole new world for me. Knowing Christ made me see how self-centered and selfish I truly was, and still am apart from Him. He solved the issue of sin with his death on the cross, offering forgiveness once and for all, and sent his Holy Spirit to do his transforming work in me, not by my own willpower.
My religiosity and head knowledge of God became an experiential vital relationship and connection with Jesus Christ, changing me from the inside out that affected my perspective, purpose, life direction, relationships, and decisions. 2 Corinthians 5:17 explain it this way: “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” Bible reading became a daily staple that opened my eyes to a lot of misconceptions I had about God and showed me the kind of abundant life He wants to give.
I took Proverbs 3:5-8 to heart: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” The Bible and my time with God became His instrument to guide me in my decision-making, especially in critical crossroads and different stages of my life – what to do after graduation?; what am I gifted with and created for?; is he the one I am to marry?; how to have a marriage God intended?; how to raise my children well?; and many more. At every season of life, He is present and speaks! The Bible has become not just a book to read but a living word that is full of wisdom. It gives one knowledge, understanding, insight, comfort, warnings, delight, peace, that makes one live fully and wisely with God’s empowerment and grace.
The biggest area of change was in my life work. Instead of proceeding to medicine proper where I was headed in college, with His leading I joined the international organization now known as Cru where I grew in many ways and my life was maximized. The shy, reserved, quiet, content-to-read me became outgoing, taking initiative and accepting leadership responsibilities nationally and internationally. I became part of different staff teams where much was required of me, where the work was pioneering with no clear tracks to walk on, but much love and appreciation were also given. I began to venture out of my comfort zones and tried different leadership positions with God’s enablement. Working in Cru turned me into a speaker in public giving seminars in tandem with my husband who is a good public speaker, even though my preference is in small groups. I also never imagined myself to be a writer, but what started as article contribution to a few women’s books turned into having my own book published.
Indeed, I have proven that God’s promises are true: ” But I came to give life – life in all its fullness.” John 10:10)! So when I think of growing old and what is ahead, God’s comforting word says, “I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior” (Isaiah 46:3-4).
Spirit health is usually the most neglected aspect or just a tiny aspect in most people’s lives, not knowing that it is the core from which all others springs from. The amazing thing is that no matter what stage of life you are in, Jesus can transform you, maximize you, fill you, satisfy you for all of the remaining days of life, if you let Him.
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