a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

4 Ways to Stay Young

4 Ways to Stay Young

The other day it was bitter cold outside. So cold, in fact, that my kids wanted to stay inside. (This never happens.) It was a weekend so I was home with them. Now I get cabin fever if I'm stuck in the house for a few hours, but my kiddos saw it as an opportunity. We built a giant pillow fort and played video games. We ate good food and laughed and made a complete mess of the house.

Kids are beautiful creatures. They laugh and play and pretend. Adults are beautiful creatures, too. They work and protect and keep order. But rarely do I meet adults who laugh and play and pretend, and that's sad. Growing up doesn't mean you become a statue. I am scared that in many ways I've become a statue.

The following four ways will absolutely keep you young, but I want to preface this practical advice with a spiritual truth. Youth and lightness of living only come from a hopeful soul. If you aren't secure in why you're here on earth and where you're going, you'll be a ball of angst and anxiety. If you don't have a method to deal with your depravity and the malevolence and suffering all around you, I believe you will lack sufficient reason to live youthfully.

Before you worry about staying young, work on your soul. We are sinners in need of grace. Jesus help us. We live in a broken world. Jesus help us. We are too often alone and looking for intimacy. Jesus help us. We are getting older with each moment and we know we'll die. Jesus help us. Jesus said if we lose our lives in him, we'll find them again. That is what I'm talking about. Don't death grip your life and happiness, lay it in a pile at Jesus' feet. Start here.

Now, let's get to some practical ideas for happy souls to stay young:

1. Make stuff. Kids love art and creativity. Art and creativity are playful and fun. And if you will combine the playfulness of art with the seriousness of the message your art can convey, you've got an epic journey to embark upon. Creating keeps our minds and hearts fresh as we imagine and turn ideas into reality.

2. Learn stuff. We get old when we stop learning. New ideas - even those which we disagree with - will force us to think. I hope when I'm old I'll have libraries of wisdom and information in my head, most of which I'll have seem to have forgotten. Reading and learning seasons the soul and allows us to see the world more clearly and to use our wisdom to teach others.

3. Do stuff. Our bodies will break, but it doesn't mean we should put them in neutral. I train jiu-jitsu with a 70 year old man who would whip just about every one of my friends in a fight. He stays young by challenging his body, and even though he can't move like he used to, he keeps moving. Keep moving.

4. Start stuff. You know what'll make you old and keep you young at the same time? Starting a business. Now if you start the business properly, with wisdom and financial acumen, it won't kill you. If you start the business with a reason why (see Simon Sinek's book Start With Why), you just might change the world. It doesn't have to be a business, though. Stay young and plant a church or start a non-profit. Stir it up and start something.

I read somewhere recently that after 34, we get worse at everything. Well, I'm 34. Gulp. I don't agree with that, though. And even if it were to be true, who cares? What are you going to do, spend the rest of your life in low gear? 

Think about the apostles. Many of them didn't get the chance to get old because they were stoned or boiled in oil or crucified. They went out in a flash of pain and glory. They lived for Jesus and died for Jesus. Living on purpose will keep you young, even if you don't get to see your gray hair days. That's a life well-lived.

It doesn't matter how old you are - never get old. Take inventory of your soul, rest in Jesus, and keep shaking things up until the Lord calls you home.

What Would Your Last Words Be? Go Live Them.

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