Are we set in our ways, and closed-minded or someone to turn to and look for wisdom as we age? I don’t know if that is even the question. God has given me the opportunity to deal with both the young and the old intimately in my lifetime and I have learned so much. Is an older person close minded or standing firm? How do we stand firm as we age based on our knowledge and wisdom and still show the love of Christ? There is so much pride wrapped up in all of this on both sides, as always we need to go back to where God calls us. What does He have to say about age and open our hearts to what He wants to show us.
As I have read my bible over the years, verses about aging have crossed my path and being that I had older people in my life that I loved very much they stuck here and there. On being led to write this blog post I sat down to look up the references to age in the bible and while I knew they were there and I could marginally quote a few, the number I encountered was unexpected and so cool really!
We are called to honor age. We are called to look to the wisdom of those older than us. Now as I age this seems stupid and self promoting really. “Listen to me because I am older and God tells you to”, but that is not my heart. I am really listening to the speak around me about people and aging. There is much thought about people being set in their ways or unwilling to change, and looking at my own heart I had to ask, where do I stand? Am I getting more closed as I age? Am I unwilling to listen and change? The Holy Spirit began to point me in a direction as I thought about aging. He asked me questions about why I stood where I did? Why do I take the position I have on certain things? As I answered these questions I began to understand that I don’t stand because I have to be right or because I need someone to do things my way but rather because I have often been there, done that and I am not doing it again. I know the path I am on and why I have made certain choices over the years and I don’t need to question or back track. With this in mind the Holy Spirit opens the doors of my mind even more. I had already had a respect for those older than I out of obedience to God. This is what originally led me to listen and as I did to learn amazing things but now He has added a new dimension.
How do you define close minded and what makes it different from standing firm? What He brought to mind is close minded is being unwilling to listen. God created all people, He crafted them especially for a purpose. Everyone has something of value to say. We may not agree with everything a person is saying but still there is something God wants to teach us in what they are saying. Often times I have found He is teaching me where I actually stand on something or why I think or feel a certain way. He takes the opportunity to take me into a deeper understanding of something I may have only briefly thought about. I am always so grateful for this and grateful for the different people God has placed in my life. I love going deeper and get a more rooted understanding of why I think and feel the way I do. So even if I disagree I can listen and participate in conversations where I don’t necessarily agree. Standing firm, He showed me, is knowing who He created me to be and the events and circumstances He has placed in my life that brought me to the point I am in my thoughts and actions. I have spent time looking at Him and time looking away. I have done things my way and I have done them His way. Year upon year rolls by and I know why I am making a certain choice and why I am not. There is no question. I am not going to turn back so I can seem or feel that I am being open. I have 47 years at this point of choices that brought me to my conclusions about my choices. So with this same view I am now able to see the wisdom of those people He has put in my life. I can seek out these people and listen to their stories and opinions with an open and loving heart.
God has continued over the years to put older people in my life and as He opened the doors of my mind to love people and see what He created in them I began to see a beautiful garden of wisdom before me. I began to sit and listen to what they had experienced in life, the choices they had made and how and why they made them and put them before God. I was stunned at what I saw. I am learning to ask questions about why they say the things they do or the choices they make, what led them there. I have been excited to see how even though some approach God very differently then I do they have an amazing faith. I have seen and heard how they have worked through and endured things that I did not really think people faced too much way back when. I have learned that some of their reactive statements came out of fear and by asking clarifying questions when they were saying something caustic or accusatory so much more was revealed about their thought process and why they come to certain conclusions or what made them say something in just that way. What it of course has come back to is the love of Jesus.
When we approach things with the love of Jesus our perspective changes. We are open and listening. We see who God created the person in front of us to be. He reveals some aspect of their heart we need to see in that moment and we He gives us the ability to love them and learn from them. We don’t need to approach age with fear and close the doors of our mind no matter what side of the age door we find ourselves on.
How are we set apart with regards to age? I know what God is saying about age, we are to honor it. I know He says there is wisdom to be found there and I intend to look and see. I intend to dig deep and know Him more by talking to and listening to the people He puts in front of me. As I age I intend to love and be open but still at times I will stand firm because I have come to my conclusions as I walked this path with God and I know the outcome of certain choices. I will stand firm in love and make my choices based on experience and not pride. I will open my heart to all of God’s creations so I can learn all the lessons He has for me. I will seek wisdom and pursue it.