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Age is a funny thing. It has the power to make us feel powerful and important, or weak and incapable. Feeling “old” or “young” can have remarkable consequences for how we treat ourselves and others. Whether it’s the naivete of a teenager, the wisdom (or stodginess) of the retired, or the whirl-wind that is the “prime of life,” the world judges us by the number of years we’ve been alive.
But it’s just a number, right?
Well, I just turned 30. Honestly, I feel just how I thought I would feel.
And nothing like I thought I would feel.
As last year was ending and a new year approaching, I, like many, did my own little “year in review.” 2017 seemed to have its share of downers. Among them, my mother fell and broke her hip, and subsequently died. After finally persuading my husband to take a vacation (it had been several years since our last one), our trip south in September was cancelled by a hurricane (one of several that affected our country). There were earthquakes and wild fires in our country and terrorist attacks all over the world. I personally was sick with bronchitis for over six weeks. That was followed by a shingles outbreak that lasted 4 months. In December my husband spent 8 days in court being defended in a law suit. I could easily have felt sorry for us, and the world in general.
Our society uses merit-based standards to judge whether someone or something is worthy of a title or role, such as a Grammy or Oscar award winner, military General, Nobel Laureate, pageant winner, etc. We consider income, status, accomplishments or the opinions of others to determine worth. We also place a great emphasis on self-esteem, which is defined as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.”
But what does scripture say about worth and worthiness?
Long before I became a mom, I worked in Santa Monica, CA. I worked for a boss who would harass me sexually with his vocal comments. He was very inappropriate. So much so that I wanted to file a report with OSHA. However, I feared that he would track me down. He did not seem to be a very stable human being. The payroll check that I received bounced. No real surprise there, considering his instability.
It’s hard to remember the last time I was truly joyful. I’m a generally happy, positive person. But when was the last time I truly exuberated joy? I’ve heard the difference between happiness and joy described many ways, but this is one of my favorites: Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it comes, but Joy is a choice.