In a few months I will be turning fifty and everything around me seems to be reminding me of that lately.

Last week I went to both the doctor and the physical therapist for two unrelated, unrelenting issues impacting my sleep, workout, and mental energy. My husband and I are evolving into our parents. Instead of going to our kids’ sporting events on weeknights, we do things like shop for a toaster oven. And after finding one, we wandered the aisles of Target just to get more steps in. This week I sported a soaking wet, bank-robber-looking sheet mask before bed because…

Wrinkles, sunspots, sagging.

There’s also my AARP card, conversations about retirement and downsizing our home, and realizing we’re now older than the Cunningham’s were on Happy Days. Everything’s pointing to what we know is inevitable, but difficult to process, accept, or like now that it’s happening to us. How do the kids say it?

We’re #Big Old.

And if I’m honest, I’m struggling with that. I worry sometimes my husband won’t find my neck, eye, forehead, and full-body wrinkles attractive. I don’t like that I’m learning the piano primarily to stave off the Alzheimer’s my grandma battled. I don’t like my house emptying, my hair graying, and my body hurting. And I don’t like thinking if it’s this bad now,

What’s next?

Around the New Year, I realized I’m often preoccupied with what’s next. I’ve noticed I’m barely done going on a trip with my family, wrapping up a speaking event, or completing a writing project and I’m mentally planning what’s next. I have a subtle, constant pressure and awareness of what’s next rather than being present in the present.

Why? Well, lately maybe it’s because the present isn’t pleasant. I think I’m trying to ignore how quiet my life is without my kids. Perhaps I’m looking at what’s next so I still have purpose and feel needed. And although there isn’t anything wrong with planning, I feel like the Lord is convicting me about my inability to “do today,” especially if today brings loneliness, silence, pain, fear, or otherwise.

One of the things I learned in my discipleship group last year is that God is always at work. He is always trying to get our attention in the mundane parts of our lives. When I habitually look, worry, or plan, “what’s next,” I’m missing God. I’m missing His daily bread – Him teaching, showing, loving, and providing for me today. Regardless of what today brings.

I’m struggling with getting older, but He’s teaching me in that. He’s reminding me to be still. He’s helping me look and listen for Him today. When I instinctively jump ahead to what’s next, He patiently brings me back. And in just a few weeks, I’ve already started experiencing His peace and provision today. And like everything else God lovingly convicts me of that I get to practice, it’s growing my faith and has been a gift to my soul.