by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good. Titus 2:2-3 ESV
They won’t listen.
Women of a certain age worry about the generations coming up behind. We know we have a biblically ordained responsibility to teach younger women, but we flounder.
There’s a lot I don’t know about reaching the next generation, but we must start somewhere.
Here are five ways to be older women younger women can hear.
- Live a Great Story – If the only Jesus-story or testimony you share is three decades old, it’s time to update your God-card. If you’re living for Jesus, there should be fresh stories. If there aren’t, check in with a mature believing friend and ask God to refresh your assignment. Genuine, mature faith deepens like wine. Religious practice alone, like old bread, grows stale. Younger women yearn to be part of a great story. Older women living one will earn their attention. Invite them to join you.
- Vision Forward, Not Back –Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Refuse to walk in the path of Lot’s wife – so busy looking back you risk being left behind. Travel light into tomorrow. Jesus is in this day and where He is is where we need to be, even when times are hard. God designed you and assigned you to be an older woman in these times. If your focus is the eternal adventure stretching before us, your eyes will be full of light. We may not share a similar past with younger generations, but we share today, and we could be friends into eternity, so keep your vision focus forward.
- Know Something About the Culture – Seriously, watch a movie made in the past five years. Check out a television show that’s not on TVLand or MeTV. Read a best-seller. Explore modern happenings. If God called you to the mission field, you’d explore the culture. He’s called you to the next generations. Explore their culture – and not like it’s a smelly fish – like it’s a fascinating puzzle. Invite younger women over to binge watch a show or listen to their favorite musical artists. Trade off watching one of their favorite movies followed by one of yours. Start a book club. Be teachable, accepting, and curious. That’s a combination that is the foundation of role models. Laugh easily. Love generously. Re-invent old age.
- Be Vulnerable, Available, and Present – No matter how old we get, we’re sinners saved by grace alone. As we mature, we begin to get some things right, but we still fail. We don’t know everything. Forget the fake. Park your pretense. Let your vulnerability surface. Be emotionally available and wholly present. Listen. Ask questions. Younger women don’t want someone who’s perfect, they want someone who’s present.
- Finally, keep growing up. We may be seniors, but in the light of eternity, we’ve only just begun. In 2 Peter 1:1-10, Peter lists eight qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love) that if we have them in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. Make every effort to grow in these qualities and we’ll be effective and fruitful with the generations on the rise. We lose a lot as we age. Here are some things to intentionally lose for the sake of building the kingdom in younger women – fear, a critical spirit, inflexibility, arrogance, hypocrisy, and pretense.
No matter our age, we each contribute to the culture of women in the kingdom of Christ. What does it look where you stand for Him?
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Join the conversation: Were you ever mentored in your younger years? What meant the most to you from that time together?