I Won’t Recognize Me

25 08 2011

When I am 80, should I make it, there are going to be some noticeable changes. If in reasonable health, I will undoubtedly be dealing with a body that can’t sprint up the stairs. My skin will be wrinkled. I will have surrendered the habit of dying my hair and it will be what it wants to be. I think I will shake more; my mother’s hands shake and I am noticing mine are doing that more and more even now. Glasses won’t be optional.

When I am 80 with my children grown and on their own journey, I hope to be content but by no means idle. If I have a good mind still, I hope it will be a good mind so that my heart can follow, making me still of good use to the very, very end.

When I am 80 will I smile at 43 and say, “My how you have changed!” I don’t mean the hair, the wrinkles, the body; will I be noticeably different in mind and heart?  Will it be obvious to me that I have changed, that I have “become” the vessel the Potter had in mind?

The Bible is laced with references about being made new:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

New. Am I even now, newer than I was a few months ago? This is an actual question I want to answer because, as a follower of Jesus, “What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people,” Galatians 6:15 says (NLT). Being new matters to me because I am not walking this walk so that I can mark down “Christian” for my religious affiliation. I want, most desperately, to be new. I want, most noticeably, for there to be reformation in my life.

Following Christ is aging in reverse in some ways, though my body will do what it does, my heart and mind have the opportunity to be continually renewed and stay green like a tree. Old things actually pass away – old grudges, old stubbornness, old bitterness, old stupidity, old fears, old judgments, old pride, old insecurities, old disobedience, old ideas, old blindness – and as a result I can more fully live.

I say “I have the opportunity to” and “I can” change because I am not sure if this is a guarantee. I could be wrong, but I have the ability to dig in my heels and though the Spirit may urge me, I can disobey.

Newness, the result of submission to the Spirit, should be noticeable. Perhaps not always publicly, in the way that I might receive “The Most Noticeably Changed” award. But surely I should be able to see it in myself, and without a doubt these changes should impact others as I become more loving, more gentle, more kind, more patient, more loyal, more teachable, more approachable, more gracious, more giving, more forgiving, more humble.

Newness means my love for Jesus and His Words will have grown, my love for my neighbor and my community will have become more responsive, my desire for others to know about new life would only be natural.

When I am 80 will this show? I mean will I see how I have taken God’s Word to heart? Will the lessons taught to me have stuck? Will layers have peeled away, leaving me freer from myself and more able to walk like Jesus?

What will be new about me? What is being made new in me right now, today?

When I am 80 (God help me!) I want to look in the mirror and be amazed at what God can do with an ordinary girl like me; I want to stare long and hard at the years written on my face and hardly recognize myself from that 43 year old who wrote this post on August 25th, 2011. Who could have known, I will think, that at 80 I wouldn’t be old at all; I would be new.

— Teresa Klassen

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