Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My Year of Jubilee

On May 24th I turned 50. And like for most people, this is one of those "milestones" that make me stop and think. What does being a half century old mean? Does it mean I'm old? That my life is on the downhill slide?

My pastor and friend Steve Dixon said at his 50th birthday, that this was his year of Jubilee! He made reference back to the Jewish custom that on the 50th year:

1. Liberty was proclaimed everywhere for everyone
2. Reversion of landed property to its original owner, who had been driven by poverty to sell it
3. Rest for the soil

So his year of jubilee was liberty, restoration, and rest.

I like that. So I choose to view this birthday as "My Year of Jubilee!" But, what does this mean for me?

1. Liberty.

It's my turn.My husband and I chose for me to be a stay-at-home mom. We felt it was important for our five children. It meant doing without a lot and our children didn't have the latest and greatest, but there was a lot of love, laughter, and wonderful childhood memories that I'm blessed to hear from them when we get together.

They are grown and I've done my job as a stay-at-home mom. Now what? Well, I'm free to start something new. To forge a new path. To grow. And that is just what I'm doing and hopefully making a positive impact on those around me by writing and by being an inspirational, motivational, speaker.

2. Restoration. Being 50 has many advantages. It clears the head of what is and is not important, restoring the true values of life that are to be treasured.

Beauty of the soul and spirit is much more important that the beauty of the body. No matter what we do, time softens our outward beauty. We lose the "edge." But age can't wrinkle or weaken our spirit, unless we let it by bitterness, hate, or misplaced priorities.

I've learned that it isn't important that everyone agrees with me. I don't have to argue, but rest in what I believe. I can love those who disagree with me without compromising my principles.

Time is more important than money. That is a gift everyone can afford to give others.

Television can be a great thief of time and a retarder to relationships. If we aren't careful, the pretend lives of the characters we watch can become our reality, making us discontent with our own "real" lives. Television is also a thief of creativity and original thought.

On the other hand, time spent with friends and family in conversation sparks inspiration, correction, and vision.

We can rejoice in others successes without being threatened with our own.
I accept my personal responsibility to be the best I can be and trust the rest to God. So if someone achieves something I would also like to achieve, I can applaud them without feeling threatened or jealous.

My self-worth does not come from the position I hold in life or from the things I own.
My self-esteem comes from what God says about me. He says that I'm wonderfully made, that He loves me, that I'm the apple of His eye, that I am His and He is mine. Imagine that! The Creator of the Universe says that about me! In fact, He says that about all His children.

Peace with myself comes from being grateful for what I have, knowing that God will supply all my needs, which He has in abundance.

3. Rest

Have faith. I've seen the hand of God in my life countless times. I've learned I can rest in Him that He will not fail me. Worry is unnecessary, in fact, it is an insult to God.

My house doesn't have to be perfect when others come to visit.
I now see that it is much more important to keep it comfortably clean and be mentally and emotionally ready for visitors. And if they come for dinner, the dishes can wait until they have left.

I'm sure I'll think of more things to add to my "Jubilee Year" list and will post them. But it doesn't have to be your 50th year for this epiphany. If you are younger than 50, learn from us over-the-hill crowd! If you are older, teach the younger by example how great the higher decades can be!

From the summit of 50, life looks great. I plan on enjoying the ride!