Are you comfortable with who you are and what you are doing? I was. I have spent most of my adult years in cross cultural work, living and working in our target country for 29 years. I knew my part and played it as well as I could.
I’ve always been willing to learn new things. I’ve tried lots of different ways to serve. But in the end, I usually settled into my office to work. I’m a behind-the-scenes sort of person. Occasionally I was stretched to leave my office and speak, but felt I was most comfortable and productive writing and working one-on-one.
I turn 65 this year. From my teen years I had sixty-five in my mind as the time people retire. Yet, as I’ve neared this birthday, I haven’t thought of myself as old and close to retiring. Should I be expecting to slow down, pull back, relax?
No way! I took a huge step out of my office this last year.
About a year ago I was asked to lead a youth camp, while my husband led the adults. I had never worked with youth. I hated my own teen years and didn’t find raising my sons through their teen years particularly comfortable. I didn’t (and still don’t) feel like I understand teens. I was afraid! Youth can stare you down like unblinking aliens. They can giggle among themselves or tie you in knots with unrelated questions.
The only thing I knew for sure was that it was the Lord asking me if I was willing. I said yes, but was really frightened. My sisters and a dear friend gave me lots of help, great ideas, and even directions on preparing my own mind for the experience.
It was nothing like I had feared. Though I had twelve youth instead of seven, and had to lead them for six hours instead of three, we connected. They helped each other and did the exercises I had planned. We all laughed a lot and grew a lot.
So do I consider myself a great youth speaker? Will I advertise for meetings or have name cards printed? Of course not. But, a shell fell off during that camp and I stepped into a new freedom.
God stretched me. I grew a lot. Something changed.
Since that time, I’ve had other opportunities with youth. I’ve taken them. Not with self confidence, but with an assurance in my heart that it is His assignment and He has something to say to them through me.
I’ve also had more opportunities to speak to young adults recently. I have a message for them and want to challenge them. If I can grow at this age, they can reach even farther.
I have spoken in churches with more confidence than ever before. Thankfully, others have noticed and asked what happened.
All I know for sure is that this was a time of great growth. It opened new doors to me at a time in my life that many are retiring. I don’t want to relax, I want to grow in more areas. I don’t want to waste any openings or miss any steps.
So how about you? Are you hearing God call you to new areas of work, new people to touch, or new places to go? Are you feeling like it is time to relax? Are you tired of what you are doing and need a new challenge?
This is a good time to search your own heart and allow God to root out any long-held, but faulty reasons for not doing what you have the opportunity to do. Let’s not waste the time and energy we have. A time will come when we cannot do all we do today. But it’s not here yet. I don’t want regrets over what I did not do. I want thanksgiving over what I did get to do. You too?