Two days ago I crossed the half-century line! So, what’s it like to be officially “over the hill”? Some may say more aches and stiffness than when we were 20. We used to leap before looking. Now we look before we leap. But most importantly – WE STILL LEAP!
I trust, declare and believe that now certain important things that used to be uphill will be downhill. Downhill means thigs happen faster, more efficiently and that the forces around us are pulling us forward not backwards! If you’re 50+, that’s for you!
“Downhill” means we can accomplish more, reach farther, travel faster and make a bigger impact in the world. Being on the downhill side of life means we have learned the lessons of youth and can function with greater wisdom, walk with greater confidence and give ourselves to God and to others with whole-hearted focus relatively free from certain things that may have distracted or encumbered us in earlier years.
It seems those over 50 are called quinquagenarians. I prefer “golden jubilee-ers”! Since my last name – Cinquanta – also means 50, I guess that’s nothing new for me. Jubilee in the Bible happened every 50 years. It meant freedom. Jubilee means liberty from those things which held back our best, our highest and the fullness of God’s purposes for us in this world. Jubilee is God’s purpose for every person in the world – to be and accomplish His full joy, love and calling. Being on the “downhill” side of the hill of life will accelerate what you’ve begun into greater movements, greater velocities and greater Kingdom amperages!
Rewind to the 80s – At age 15 or somewhere amidst that wild and wonderful era of “leaping before we looked,” Dad made my friends and me “go devils.” A “go devil” was a barrel stave with a seat affixed to it. The sledder climbed up a snowy hill, sat down on the seat, placed his or her feet on the approximately six-inch wide board and ZOOM, away you went, like it or not! Having once mastered the required balance-and-tilt skills, we found go deviling far cooler than sledding. We could make rather sharp turns just like skiing or snowboarding, and they went way faster than a normal sled due to the small surface area.
The parents said, “don’t go in the woods, you’ll hit a tree. Go on the sledding hill in the open field.” So of course, guess where we went! And wow did we learn how to avoid trees! One time smacking into a tree made you learn really fast how to guide your go devil. Wow the fun we had, weaving in and out of trees and then when we got over-confident, building jumps to increase the difficulty and the risk of kissing some bark.
Downhill on a go devil is lots of fun to the extent that you learn to steer it around the trees. Sometimes life can take us careening along faster than we’d prefer… sometimes it seems we’re headed straight for a tree! The downhill side of life especially can feel scary. The “tree” ahead is those “latter years” – the reality that we’re not 20 anymore and that none of us will live forever and that someday, if the Lord tarries, we will leave this world by way of the death of these slowly degrading bodies.
But this is no time to reduce our experience of life just because we’re on the downhill side going through the forest! It’s time to exercise all the skill and wisdom the former years brought to us, and weave in and out and fly over those jumps and defy the rules or at least the limits, and do it all way out loud!
The downhill side of life is the time to GO FOR IT! There may have been a time of coasting. The “midlife crisis” gets some of us. We find ourselves in limbo – no longer a rookie, but too few gray hairs or wrinkles to be considered a sage. Viewed by some as accomplished and by others a peer in the adult world. Dangerously capable of looking back at a joyful, highly productive past and becoming comfortable. And so went the early 40s.
But coming into those five years before the big 5-0, if you are like me, you become unbearably disturbed that your life is goin by and you are not changing the world in a bigger way, you aren’t yet finding a way to give to the world all the things that God has entrusted to you. You feel like a one- or two-talent servant but you are compelled and driven, with the urgency of “I must do the works of Him who sent me” – to be a five-talent servant!
And then when you hit 50, you know a new season has dawned. It is TIME! The time is NOW! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s time to stop reinventing the wheel, stop trying to do it all yourself, stop holding onto things that are holding you back. Run the race to win. It’s now or never. The past may by now offer many glowing memories, but to dwell in them is to be lulled into complacency. No! We now “forget what is behind and press on to what is ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling in Christ.”
And so with great anticipation I look forward to these “downhill” years! I’m getting on my go devil again. It’s time to challenge some trees and tell some devils to GO! Everything before this was preparation. Now it’s time to seriously change the world!
Thank you to all of you who honored me on this special day. I especially am thankful to my amazing family in India, Nepal, Bhutan South America and other nations…including the USA of course! Here are some very special words from one of my “sons” in Nepal, Amar: “You are rare like a diamond, beautiful like a goddess and pure like an angel. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have a mother like you. Happy Birthday to you, dear Mom. May God bless you.” THANK YOU ALL and I love you so much! Let’s go take on the impossible, rescue the captives, transform cities, ignite nations and mobilize movements!