In this episode:
I’d rather laugh about what I can’t change instead of grumbling about it. I'll aim to embrace hard times as an opportunity for God's power to shine, even if that isn't my first reaction. This week I talk about one man in the Bible who understood God's ability to repurpose circumstances in a mind-blowing way.
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Did you catch my interview with Jill Savage last week about discovering full life even after having an empty nest? That was episode 38.
In episode 37 I also talked about gray hairs and chin fizz. I don't know what it is with those chin hairs, but I suspect my face crème has a formula similar to Rogaine. I can imagine a scientist—a man—creating just the right blend that would cause vain women like me who believe they need anti-wrinkle crème, to begin sprouting full beards. Seriously!
I’m recording this during a statewide shelter at home order because of a pandemic, so I can’t make use of the car visor to check my chin hairs. I’m going to have to use the light on my cell phone so that I don’t come out of quarantine looking like the bearded lady.
In this series I have talked about looking at aging with a different perspective and looking for the jewels.
There are other advantages to being more mature.
- For instance, sales clerks and auto technicians call me “ma’am” instead of “miss.” That has a certain ring of respect.
- I’m allowed to bring my bifocals out in public now. Ma'ams wear bifocals, don't they?
- I discovered in my 40s that I could wear my blueberry-colored velour jogging suit and nobody expected me to actually jog. Mostly, it was my Sunday afternoon napping outfit, but once I had to pick them up from school and figured that I’d be in the van and no one could see me. I talk about that in the podcast episode.
With aging and other life challenges, I’ve discovered that my perspective has everything to do with getting through it. I have plenty of down days. But when I can laugh and find the unseen benefits in a situation, those are the days when I’m happy despite circumstances outside of my ability to control.
I want to briefly tell you about one man in the Bible who understood God's ability to repurpose circumstances better than I'll ever comprehend. Joseph was a young man whom his father loved. In fact, he was his father's favorite. This made his brothers jealous, and they wanted to kill him.
They threw him into a pit while planning their evil, and then concocted an idea to sell him as a slave so they wouldn't have murder on their consciences. They covered up their evil by telling their father that Joseph was killed by a wild animal, and then they watched him grieve the loss.
After his brothers sold him to the caravan of merchants, Joseph ended up in Egypt, serving in the home of one of Pharaoh's officials. Unfortunately, false accusations by a devious mistress landed him in prison. But God wasn't finished.
Through Joseph's special God-given ability to interpret dreams, he eventually landed the position of second-in-command over all Egypt. It sounds like a repurposed life, doesn't it? But that's just the beginning of God's repurposing.
None of this happened overnight. Years had passed since the horrible act of his brothers. Famine in Joseph's homeland drove his brothers to Egypt in search of food. When Joseph, a government official now, recognized his brothers when they came to him, he didn't seek revenge—although he could have.
When they recognized him, the brothers were terrified because of their guilt. Rightfully so. Joseph was in a position to execute any sort of punishment he wanted. But instead of what they expected, Joseph threw his arms around his brothers, weeping. He kissed them. He spoke of how God had repurposed their wrongdoing.
Joseph said, "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt" (Genesis 45:5–8).
Later, when they still doubted his forgiveness, Joseph had to remind them again, "‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.' And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them" (Genesis 50:20–21).
Joseph's story represents an ultra-repurposed life. Most of us won't ever experience anything that comes close to his suffering. But his example demonstrates that no circumstance is too horrible, no evil too vast, for God to turn it into something that brings him glory.
Joseph's story makes my own whining seem petty and insignificant. But I'm thankful God cares about even those trivial annoyances.
We can't stop the aging process, so we may as well look for the advantages in growing older and perceive ourselves through God's lens. Magazines and television are full of Hollywood celebrities and glamorous stars who do drastic things like plastic surgery to fight aging.
If we believed the majority of examples we see in the media, we would conclude we are broken and ugly. But the Bible tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God. That means even our wrinkles are something to celebrate.
I had four grandparents live to be at least 90 years old. If that’s how many years the Lord gives me, I don’t want to spend the next 50 years whining and complaining. I’d rather laugh about what I can’t change, instead of grumbling about it. I'll aim to embrace hard times as an opportunity for God's power to shine, even if that isn't my first reaction.
- How many beauty products do you have on your bathroom counter top or in the drawers right now? How many of them do you suspect of doing nothing? So many of them are big money-wasters. Clean out your stash and toss the dated stuff.
- Are there any areas that you ought to take more seriously in order to take better care of your body as it ages? Think of one change you could make right now and then take action today.
f you have enjoyed this episode, you’ll find the content in chapter 5 of my book, The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure.
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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
All blog content copyright MichelleRayburn.com
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.