Expiration Dates and Grace Periods
Lately I’ve been thinking about expiration dates and grace periods. One was created to provide us an optimal period to use certain products while the other offers us extensions of time to pay a debt without the threat of being cancelled or penalized. Both are great, to say the least. But I think it’s the idea behind expiration dates and grace periods that taunts me. It’s this notion that “nothing lasts forever” or “all good things must come to an end.” It’s also how our society views aging.
I remember when I announce being pregnant at the age of 38. It felt like I had to defend myself even to my doctor. It didn’t seem to matter that this was a planned pregnancy or that I was in the best of health. All that mattered was my age. Constantly hearing the statements and opinions of others caused doubt to sneak in. I started to feel like I was too old and would never see the plans and goals I made for my life. I became anxious all the time, working overtime and pushing myself to the limit, trying to make things happen quickly due to a self-imposed expiration date I had stamped on my life.
I tried multiple times to throw in the towel and just settle with where I was in life. It was a good life, better than some but like an annoying mouth sore, I kept going back to past dreams and promises/goals. It hasn’t been easy. Life didn’t hold back with the trials and issues. But I found solace in the story of Sarai and Abram. When an encouraging thought would come to mind and I’d feel that surge of motivation, I’d laugh at myself much like Sarai did when she overheard the prophecy that she would bring one of her dreams to birth even though she was well past what would be considered her expiration date. She didn’t laugh like one would at a joke. This was a nervous laugh like those we make when we’re uncomfortable or fearful. Although I laughed at the thought of pursuing old dreams, there remained a gnawing feeling that kept rising up inside me. It felt like I was being activated to move forward and just like Sarai, we both birthed our dreams after what others said was our expiration date.
Despite fear and doubt, Sarai completed the process. Instead of being frustrated with the process, she withstood the test of time. Sarai found determination during what was once despair. Whenever things appear to be work against me and doubt attempts to point to an expiration date, I think of Sarai and how she was granted an extended grace period and it motivates me to keep creating, keep building, keep living my best life.
2020 has not been kind to many of us. Some of us have suffered great losses, while others have been tossed between mixed emotions of joy and pain. Despite it all, this year has been an opportunity for us to examine ourselves. When we did, we learned things about ourselves that scared some of us to the degree that we relapsed into old habits to anesthetize and stop the emotional pain. We had high hopes for 2020. This year didn’t fail us just like all the years Sarai tried to get pregnant and didn’t fail her. They weren’t failures but periods of preparation. I’m sure Sarai saw friends and loved ones die, move on without her, and advance past her. Little did she know she was being saved for an appointed time.
It’s never too late to live your best life, reach for success, realize your dreams. In the words of King David after his son with Bethsheba died, “As long as there’s life, there’s hope.” What we thought had expired is actually an extended grace period. Doesn’t it feel great when you call a bill collector to explain that you’re gonna be late with a payment and they tell you, it’s not due for another 14 days. Well, this is that. Your time is not up. Allow hope to stir the motivation within you to bring that promise to birth.