Friday Fivethis week–The Perks of Being ___ Age. I think it would be fun to do several takes on this.
The perks of being four. You never have to stare at an empty refrigerator and wonder what you’re going to make for dinner.
The perks of being ten. You have not entered into the hell that is alternatively called junior high. You still think you’re awesome. Hallelujah.
The perks of being 25. I was already married and did not have to go through any more boyfriend drama. Can I get an amen there?
But I think I’ll just run with a variation of a post I did last year and call it the perks of being in your fifties. It’s so freeing, this age. I wouldn’t go back for anything. (Except maybe to keep up the running I started in seventh grade. That might have been good.)
Five things I no longer apologize for now that I’m over fifty. And by the way–you can stop apologizing for them now, no matter what your age. They are a waste of the precious time God gave you. Trust me.
1–Telling people the truth.
Nicely. I used to worry they might not like me anymore. Now, I worry more about being trusted than liked. I care more about peoples’ needs than their good opinions. More them, less me. It’s a nice tradeoff. Understand, I don’t do this with total strangers. Because 1–I haven’t earned the right by hanging in a real relationship, and 2– I haven’t had time to gauge the person’s likelihood of owning a firearm. And should I stress again? NICELY.
Corollary to above–I won’t apologize for saying’ “I don’t think that’s right.” I won’t try to put it into lots of pretty words, either. Nice–but firm and honest. At least, I’ll try. I’ll admit up front here, this is not my best skill. (Here is a fun and all-too-true statement about how unwilling some of us (read me) are to do this.)
Now, I worry more about being trusted than liked.
It starts in school when the smart kids are the ones made fun of. We learn to hide it, pretend it isn’t so, and apologize if we give even the hint of an impression we think we know what we’re talking about. I’m done. I like to learn, I probably do know the answer, and it’s a Reading Rainbow out there, people.
But it’s OK. Because you’re probably better at math, or more musically talented, or able to make conversation far better than I am. Maybe you’re just plain nicer. Or you are an ace at Twitter, which puts you above a lot of us. Odds are really in your favor that you’re a better cook. Can we just be happy to be diverse and encourage one another’s gifts? Wouldn’t that be a great world? I think so.
3–Not explaining why I can’t do something.
This is a handy skill in the Target line. Inevitably, you will be asked to get a Red Card. And inevitably, the checker will then ask, “But why?” when you decline. I don’t have to answer that. So I just don’t. If there’s an awkward silence, I’m OK with that.
It’s taken me years to realize—I don’t have to explain myself unless I want to. Conversely, you don’t have to explain to me, either. If we’re good friends, I trust your decision. If not, it’s none of my business. So if you invite me somewhere, and I say I can’t, please don’t ask why. I am not required to say.
4–Giving people grace.
I know, I know. Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. Give the homeless guy a dollar, and he’ll use it for booze. Give that kid a second chance, and he’ll walk all over you. You’ve got to protect yourself. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You know what? Not so much.
I’d rather give and be taken advantage of than hold back because I might look foolish. I’d rather be walked all over by ten kids if it saves just one. I’d rather give someone a second, third, tenth chance and be wrong than not give one and be wrong. And I’m not going to apologize anymore for having a tender spirit. It’s not stupid—it’s just an economy of the heart rather than the head. You may be safer. But I’m not at all sorry.
I’ve seen the quotes floating around Facebook about how, when you reach a certain age, you no longer have to put up with people who annoy you or frustrate you or take from you. I get it. See above about being willing to tell the truth and say no.
But you know what? Not for me as a Christ follower. I hope that with age I grow more gracious, not less. I hope there is more room in my life for those who need. I’ve had the time to see and experience need. I should be more willing to extend grace, not less. I pray that’s what I become.
I hope that with age I grow more gracious, not less.
5–Being a woman and a pastor.
I will be polite, respectful, thoughtful, and gracious. I will not create division. But I will not back down. There is too much at stake in the kingdom of God. For me, it’s no longer “don’t rock the boat with my brothers and sisters.” It’s, “God wants to unleash his kingdom, and we’re telling half the population they’re less qualified to take part.” We’re hampering the only real mission there is and paining his creation. That’s unacceptable to me anymore.
OK, your turn. What are you going to stop apologizing for? What have you learned about yourself you don’t need to hide? Go!
And if you’d like to read more Friday Fives, go hereto Mrs. Disciple.