Stay Young...FOREVER!

It took a second look at the shelf to understand it. My hands had actually shelved these books before without my brain connecting the fact that the titles were just stupid. Because they were so ridiculous I can't remember their titles specifically. But they all wanted to say this: "Stay Young, Forever" and they meant it.

What Are We Looking For?
Why o why, would you buy that nonsense? I don't know for sure, but it has to be a strange sickness that has made us believe this junk. Its just sad.

But maybe this thing we are looking for is what we said before, but it is good...staying young, forever. But maybe we really have it backward. Those words don't say what I want them to mean. So, I will show you what I mean. First, I will show you a simple comic. Then, I will explain it. See if you can follow...

I Thought Like A Child.
My first day of junior high I was so happy about the sports that I could soon play all that year that I carried home my duffel bag full of my text books for every class. As a preteen I was more happy about about getting in shape that this task seemed more important than even what people thought of me. I was just looking to succeed. Those heavy books were at least half my weight. Why ride the bus when I could get a work out? My creativity endured without criticism or skepticism. I was unleashed from material expectation. I had physical level of endurance I crave now, but lacked discipline and direction.

Crazy? Maybe, so.

That type of excitement lasted until college. Until I faced the big world problems. I was my own man.

Inject cynicism.

Grow Up, Already.
I hit the school of hard knocks hard. From the beginning of college to my late 20's I was cynical about authority, the system, and pretty insecure myself.Much worse than now. I was looking for a chance to show the world that I was something special, all by myself.  I was miserable because I never thought I could measure up. As one who follows Jesus, I doubted God's blessings in my life. Until, the day I started dealing with my problems. I had carried around a satchel, then as I had carried around that duffel bag before. It was full of all of my ridiculous priorities. And few of them were God's. In a sense this burden was worse than the weight I carried around in junior high and I did so for nearly 10 years. I missed it. I had lost myself. I thought I was mature. My creativity was mostly watered down. I allowed myself to waste away for some unknown reason. Until the day I got an affirmation on my calling. My only benefit was my outward endurance and ability to work hard. This rarely helped me, because I did not have the smarts to match.

Inject grace.

Start At The Beginning.
Much has changed over the last 4+ years. On the day that a friend offered me grace for my immature behavior, I started to begin again. I slowly returned. Older, yes, but my goals are much clearer. These days my fervor for creativity is much stronger. Now, I feel myself physically wasting away. My spirit is much more agile. I willfully carry a ridiculous amount of art supplies in my new satchel to be prepared for art at any moment. Where these past opportunities only built my cynicism, I now use them to build character or create art. They fuel my imagination. Essentially the benefit of returning to my youthful ways is that every second has significance. Though, I did not get here on my own. By investing more in my relationship with Jesus, the change happened to me. I did not create it. More adequately I gave up and just trusted.

So, maybe we do have it backward. We are looking for physical youth and beauty that will not last. My physical condition has deteriorated, but my spirit has more endurance. The lesson I learned over the last 31 years is that growth is not about outward appearance, but an inward attitude. Youth is a condition of the heart. You can stay young if you put your trust in the right person, Jesus. And out of that ambition and creativity will flow like a mountain spring. Refusing the nonsense that society expects of you is only the first step. After that you have to be willing throw off the expectations you put on yourself and let God do His work. That is where your best creativity will come from.

What are you looking for? Remember and reach back to what drove you to be creative in the first place and reach up to the Lord and Savior of the universe. He will guide you in that. Look for ways to keep that momentum going.

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