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Am I Getting Older or Wiser?

Updated: Apr 27




Lately I’ve noticed little things that reveal I’m getting older. Some of them include:

 

·      I find myself gravitating to the anti wrinkle section of the cosmetic counter.

·      I no longer have any idea what color lipstick I’m applying because I can’t read the small print on the bottom of the tube.

·      I walk into a room only to discover I have absolutely no recollection of why I’m there.

·      I look for my coffee mug while it’s in my hand.

 

And so—it begins.

 

I am thrilled to discover that the Bible shares a positive side to aging,Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding comes with long life” Job 12:12 CSB

 

My bones and hair may be thinning, but I am not defeated. There is a positive side to getting older. I can become smarter than ever before if I’m teachable. And desire it.

 

This is fabulous news.


Here are a few of the ways that have helped me to evaluate whether I’m getting wiser, or merely older.

 

Wise People Are Teachable

As I age, I no longer need to impress others with what I know. I used to fear being viewed as unintelligent, and I became a “know it all”. Now I’m like a sponge with a desire to learn from others. It’s Ok if I don’t know what they know. I’m eager to learn. And if someone has an opposing view to mine, I want to learn why they believe what they believe.


Friends are more valuable than money

My girlfriends are more precious than gold. I learned to surround myself with women who encourage and lovingly confront me. The bible describes it as “iron sharpening iron” and that’s why they are a treasure.

In the past I made some poor choices on who to let into my circle. I trusted women I shouldn’t have. They didn’t have my back. Some were even jealous. Now I’m more discerning.


Trials and temptations are viewed as an opportunity for growth.

This sounds weird—but stay with me. It doesn’t mean I’m skipping through a storm, shouting “Praise the Lord” and pretending the pain doesn’t exist. It means I’ve learned that God can be trusted in the middle of a crisis. I can learn things in a storm that I can’t in any other setting.


And I’ve tested Him. God can bring good out of bad—if I let Him.  And the results may make me stronger than before. I hate the storm, but I love the results.

The storm humbles me and makes me more useful for others who are hurting. I don’t give cliché answers anymore. I sit with the weeping and can say, “lean on me.”

 

There is an increased awareness of areas of weakness

Maturing doesn’t mean I don’t make stupid decisions, poor choices, or sin. It does mean that my radar is sharper. My alertness to evil is urgent. My knowledge of God’s Word is greater, and my desire to obey God is intense.

When I’m growing, I’m quick to admit when I’m wrong and confess. I'm NOT easily offended. And I ask God to help me avoid this situation in the future. It might require making sacrifices if necessary.

The passion to avoid becoming ensnared in a lie is fierce. 

 

I’ve learned to set healthy boundaries

This was a challenge. I didn’t realize I was an enabler. I thought I was being nice.


I was wrong.


I let people treat me poorly because I didn’t know how to say no in a healthy way. And to make it worse, I thought I was being a good person.

Loving someone doesn’t mean tolerating toxic behavior. Ignoring or dismissing hurtful behavior, whether that’s family, friend, or church creates more pain. Compassionately addressing the situation is true love.


I’m not embarrassed, or arrogant, about being different.

It’s not popular to be a senior citizen, a conservative, or a Christian. I’m all those things. I used to shy away from sharing who I am. No more.

The reverse is also true. If I discover my comments, and social media posts, are focused on an arrogant “us versus them” mentality cloaked in shame that’s an indication I’ve become a condescending, “right fighting” curmudgeon.

If I'm maturing I'll admit that old lady egotistical thinking has crept into my brain.

It’s rooted in pride. And pride is always spelled, S-I-N. 


I recognize God owns it ALL



One day I finally realized that there isn’t a person, place or thing in my life that couldn’t be gone is 30 seconds. I have no ability to keep, or control, anything. At a moment’s notice God can choose to remove my husband, family, friends, church, home, health, car, plus anything else I think I poses. At first, I didn’t like these sobering thoughts. Then I admitted that God is in control, not me.

A huge burden was lifted.

He has given me the privilege to be the caretaker of the people or things to which I’m entrusted. But I don’t own them. He does.

 

I’m conquering fear.

My younger life was ruled by fear. It was my constant companion along with his twin sisters: anxiety and worry. This was embedded in childhood and only continued to grow as life became more complicated and thornier. Becoming a Christian at 24 didn’t automatically erase my fears.

I knew I had to learn to trust God. And over the years, with each various trial, I opened my clenched hands more and more.

One day in 2005 the doctors told me they thought I had Multiple Sclerosis. I pulled the covers over my head, curled into the fetal position, and begged God to just take me to heaven right that moment.

I cried for two days begging God to help me.

And then one day, after a nap, I felt better. Lighter.

And He answered my prayer.

I still was concerned, but the heavy weight of dread and doom was gone. It was replaced by, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, Lord. But I trust you. I’m leaving this in your hands. I’m not in control—you are.”



It turned out I don’t have MS, but I didn’t know that at the time.

I had finally learned how to let go of the need to be in control.

 

I’ve learned to dance.

No, not the tango. My early years were spent in an exhausting effort of performance for everyone—including God. I kept trying to earn love, approval, significance, and acceptance.

I jumped off the performance treadmill.

If people don’t like that I’m a loud sanguine—oh well.

If people don’t like my Yankee accent—oh well.

If people think as a woman, I shouldn’t be in the pulpit—oh well.

If people think I talk about my faith too much—oh well.

If people don’t like my loud, crazy clothing and purse—oh well.

 

I don’t let others determine my worth anymore.

I finally gave in and allowed God to lavish me with the love I’ve longed for. I let Him whisper, “Laura You are beautiful and precious to me just as you are. I delight in you. I am crazy in love with you and there is not one thing you can do about it. I will never leave you. Never.”

I can’t explain why he loves me, but I’ve learned that it’s true. Because I stopped laboring, wrestling, and attempting to achieve. I replaced it with resting securely in the arms of my Creator.

 

Those new wrinkles don’t matter as much as they once did. However, I’m not as quick to forgive myself about my increasing pant size, but I’m working on it.


Are you?

 

Now—if I could only find where I put my cell phone? A-L-E-X-A, find my phone!


Copyright 2024. Laura Petherbridge, The Smart Stepmom.

May not be duplicated without permission




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