Lessons from My Father: Aging
SEAN: Dad, what’s the key to aging well?
JOSH: The first key is to stay alive! Having regular physical check ups has been critical for me. I would suggest beginning around age forty. Second, live a good life without a lot of guilt, shame and regret. Third, maintain great memories. Once you hit 50, family pictures become much more important for maintaining a healthy perspective on life. Fourth, don’t slow down too much. Exercise, be active, and keep pursuing important things in life. Fifth, work on relationships. Being married to your mom has added years to my life. She has helped me so much in my life, especially coping with the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. And finally, have someone who worries about you. The other day I went jogging and it took longer than normal. My wife, and another of our friends, went looking for me. Later I thought, “Lord Jesus, thank you that there’s someone who will worry about me.” In the end, a lot of aging well is about having the right attitude.
SEAN: How has aging changed the way you relate to God?
JOSH: I spend more time thinking about what eternity will be like. There are times when I am just excited about it. Sometimes I think, “O Lord, take me home today, I just want to see you.” Of course, I want to wake up every day and see my wife, kids, and grandkids as well. But as a whole, if you’re ready, you spend a lot more time thinking about eternity.
SEAN: How do you stay relevant to the church and culture as you age?
JOSH: Be informed. Know what’s going on now in the world, not 20 years ago. Second, be willing to change. Around 45-55, many pastors, and other leaders, become obsolete because they’re not willing to adapt to the world around them. Truth does not change but the way you present truth needs to change. Some leaders say, “I have always lead this way and it has worked.” Success, however, can be one of the greatest enemies to an impactful future. Never be satisfied with a past success. Never be satisfied with the status quo. That would be boring! Never be satisfied with your own life. How can your every day be something different, something learning? Third, you can give history. You can give trends and things that younger people can’t see. You can offer life experiences that young leaders have not been through. Finally, develop and pass on helpful and biblical principles. Principles transcend both time and age.
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.