Active and joyful – regardless of age

Recognizing our nature as God’s children opens the door to greater joy and freedom in our activities.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Everyone loves watching Olympic competitors break records. Sometimes, records seem like insurmountable barriers, yet then they get broken – and then broken again!

For most of us, it’s hard to relate to breaking certain barriers, such as the men’s 400-meter hurdle record of 46.7 seconds and the women’s world triple jump record that had stood since 1995. Both were broken just this week in Tokyo. There are other Olympic barriers being broken, though, that are much more relatable. For instance, softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno, equestrian Abdelkebir Ouaddar, and gymnast Oksana Chusovitina have blown through some serious age barriers – they each are quite a bit older than many of their fellow competitors. And on the other side of the coin, table tennis player Hend Zaza, swimmer Katie Grimes, and several of the medal-winning skateboarders are notably young.

Is it true, whether we’re Olympians or not, that age doesn’t need to be seen as such a limiting barrier?

When growing up, I always appreciated this counsel in the Bible: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (I Timothy 4:12, New International Version). In Christian Science Sunday school, I learned why this is so. It has to do with how God creates us.

Jesus revealed, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). The uppercase “S” in “Spirit” here means that it is a name for God. The divine Spirit that is God includes no material components or limitations. And, since like produces like, that which Spirit creates – including you and me – is entirely spiritual, and includes no material or limited components.

True identity isn’t initiated, then, by the way atoms are organized. Our true identity comes from Spirit. “Spirit, God, has created all in and of Himself,” observes the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, on page 335 of her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”

Glimpsing, through prayer, this wonderful way in which God has created us brings increased freedom from all types of barriers, including those related to age. That’s not to say we’ll all become world-class athletes! But recognizing that fundamentally we’re not aging, vulnerable mortals, but rather God’s spiritual, 100% ageless offspring, lifts fears of “too many” or “too few” years holding us back from productive, good, righteous endeavors.

This has made such a difference in my life. While I am definitely not an Olympic-caliber athlete, I compete successfully in two different sports – sports in which many of my competitors are less than half my age. The ability to participate, I am finding, isn’t contingent so much upon age. It’s more about recognizing that the divine Spirit’s strength is reflected in each of us, God’s wholly spiritual offspring.

For instance, when I step onto the field or court, I love to first mentally acknowledge God’s presence. This helps me better feel my oneness with God, and encourages me to focus on how I can best express the qualities of Spirit – such as intelligence, strength, and joy. This has helped me participate in sports more freely and joyfully.

Whether we’re participating in athletics or not, we can begin to let go of a materially defined sense of identity that would limit our productivity. As we embrace wholeheartedly that we are, here and now, the product of Spirit alone, this opens the door to greater joy, freedom, transformation, and even healing.

Seeing someone break through the barrier that is an Olympic record is certainly inspiring. Prayerfully recognizing that a particular age doesn’t mean an end to any of our activities is even more encouraging!

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