For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding -Proverbs 2:6
Birthdays are an exciting time. You’re stepping into a new age which for some can be exciting while for others it can just be “another day”. However, as you view birthdays, entering a new age is always a great time to ponder and reflect on the past year. A time to fully reflect on what revelation God has given you, lessons learnt and what you might do differently in this new age. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “a year older, a year wiser” but is this always the case? Do we all grow in wisdom as we age, if not…why not?
I recently celebrated my birthday, and I took some time to ponder and reflect on lessons learnt in the past year, a habit I developed when I turned 25.
- There is kindness in my yes and my no
- “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.” Matthew 5:37
- Whilst saying “yes” to people is a great feeling and pleases people, don’t feel pressure to say it when you don’t mean it. By saying yes, all the time to avoid “feeling guilty” or “disappointing people” you can fall prey to people pleasing and eventual burnout. Trust me I have been there, and it is not pleasant! When you say ‘yes’ to a person or task you should do so with sincerity and willingness and not coercion. Furthermore, your “no” could create an opportunity for someone else to say yes and rise, so whilst it may be a closed door for you, it could still open the door for someone else. I would always advice praying before giving an impulsive answer, to decide on next steps.
- Self-care and self-preservation is crucial
- “Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2
- We must remember that as humans we are made up of body, mind, soul, and spirit. We need rest. Most importantly we need to include Jesus in every part of our lives. In a fast-paced world that is all about acceleration, short-waiting times and 24/7 grinding, it is easy to forget that we need Jesus to survive as He is the ‘Bread of life’ and the ‘Well that will never run dry’. We cannot pour out from an empty cup and for that reason must be aware of our physical limitations. Examples in the bible where physical needs were met 1 Kings 19 (Elijah), Mark 6:41 (5 loaves and 2 fish), Exodus 16 (Manna from heaven) and countless more where God saw the physical need of His people and made provision for it, however it is up to us receive it!
- Our Joy is eternal
- “The joy of the Lord is my strength” Nehemiah 8:10
- The joy we receive from God is independent of circumstances and people. Let that truth sit with you a bit. Joy is a state of being, accessible at ALL times, it may not feel like it but it is the joy that comes from knowing the Lord that carries us through different seasons and gives us strength to face each day no matter what lies ahead.
- Service is important but so are boundaries
- Sometimes in our desire to serve others, to serve your church we can burn ourselves out.
- Naturally as members of the body of Christ we want to pour into kingdom and serve people, but it is important to have boundaries to ensure we serve out of passion and not compulsion.
- We must never mirror other people’s actions or emotions
- “We are light and salt” Matthew 5:13-16
- Sometimes it can be easy to echo other people’s opinions without taking the time to form your own, which is dangerous as our thoughts/actions should be spirt-led.
- Don’t make assumptions, ask questions and be certain
- “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5
- It is important that we “don’t think” for people, our mind can combine with our insecurities and make a concoction of very unhealthy thoughts
- If something has been said or done, it is better to approach someone in love for clarification and work towards reconciliation than to make a wrong assumption and get offended
- Understand friendships are fluid and that’s okay
- “There is an appointed time for everything” Ecclesiastes 3:1
- Understand that relational intelligence is necessary to manage your relationships and manage your expectations of them
- Whilst Jesus had 12 disciples, he had 3 close disciples. It is okay to categorise the people in your life
So, I have shared a few lessons from turning a year older (an age I will not reveal!) and I cannot express how insightful and empowering it is to reflect on the year and renew my perspective. As we age, I pray that we do grow in wisdom and become effective and healthy vessels for the Kingdom of heaven.