Tina English, director of Christian charity Embracing Age, explains why she’s fed up of our western view of ageing and why she’s turning to what the Bible says instead.


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We are all ageing – from the moment we’re born until we’re promoted to glory. Ageing is something to be thankful for: when you woke up this morning you were given the gift of a new day. Sure, you may have a few more grey hairs and wrinkles than you did yesterday, but you’re alive and you’ve been given a fresh opportunity to experience life in all its fullness this side of eternity!

In our western culture we are bombarded with negative views of ageing, along with advertisements for lotions and potions promising to keep us looking younger for longer, as if that were something important to aspire to.

The Bible has a very different view of ageing. The Israelites were commanded to: “Stand up in the presence of the aged and show respect for the elderly” and this is linked to reverence for God! (Lev 19:32) Yet, even using the terms “elderly” and “aged” makes us feel uncomfortable these days. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could view those descriptions as a compliment rather than an insult; if we really could wear our grey hair as the crown of glory it’s meant to be? (Prov 16:31)

What if we really could wear our grey hair as the crown of glory it’s meant to be?

I, for one, am choosing to embrace age. As a woman in my fifties I love my greying hair. At the hairdressers a few years ago I was asked if I wanted to consider having colour to cover the grey. The hairdresser was quite taken back when I responded: “Why on earth would I want to do that when I have natural silver highlights?”

So how can we more fully embrace ageing? As the director of a Christian charity called Embracing Age it’s something I often ponder, and as I head towards the next decade of life it’s becoming more of a reality. I suspect the answer will be different for each of us, depending on what stage of life we’re at. Here are my thoughts:

Throwing Off

Let’s get the negative out the way to start with, by throwing off everything that hinders us. I’ve noticed that the older I get, there’s an increasing temptation towards cynicism and self-centredness. Just to clarify, I’m sure that’s not a natural part of the ageing process, but at every stage of life we will all have attitudes that need to be actively thrown off, whether that’s unforgiveness, negative thinking, or anything else. What are the attitudes that you need to throw off in order to experience life in all its fullness?

Putting On

There are also things that I want to put on as I embrace age: cultivating thankfulness; investing in my physical health to improve my strength, flexibility and balance; developing my social networks and always having an attitude that says: “What next, Lord? What do you want for me in this next season of my life?”

Hope in Ageing Poetry Competition

In the Psalms David said: “As for me, I will always have hope” (Ps 71:14). What a powerful statement, which is just as true for us as we get older. The Christian charity Embracing Age is working towards a world where older people are valued, connected and full of hope, and we believe there is hope, joy and fulfilment in ageing: that life in all its fullness extends into our later years.

With this in mind we’ve launched a poetry competition with the theme of “Hope in Ageing”. It’s open to anyone aged over 50 and the closing date is 30th April. Shortlisted poems will be published in an anthology and the winning poems will be read on Premier Radio by Pam Rhodes. To learn more visit the Embracing Age website.