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Free to Be Brave: 10 Courageous Ideas for Seniors

  • Dawn Wilson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Free to Be Brave: 10 Courageous Ideas for Seniors

When I toured Israel years ago, an old soldier told the story of Israeli fighters during the 1967 Six-Day War. The soldier-turned-tour guide said courageous troops echoed battle-strong soldiers from the past, yelling “Raq Hazaq” as they fought their foes—meaning, “Be Strong and Courageous!”

Entering my senior years, I remembered those words. I’ve wondered how the Lord might yet call me to be courageous. I’ve asked myself, “How do I show courage?” And often, “How can I be braver?”

There are certainly many ways seniors become timid or draw back into their comfort zone; but I believe there are at least 10 ways we can learn to thrive in being brave as we grow older.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Anatoliy Gleb

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    Slide 1 of 10

    One of the false assumptions of ageism is that elders cannot change. It’s simply not true. The desire and capability to change is not determined by our age, but rather by confidence and courage, boosted with a measure of adaptability and a little curiosity.

    Seniors tend to resist change, afraid of the unknown; but change can bring benefits we might not anticipate.

    My husband’s parents moved recently, and we all watched them experience the pain of leaving behind what is loved and familiar. But now they are embracing new joys, especially the closeness of family. They are believing scriptures about God’s peace, working, sustaining, help, concern, and power. God enables positive change as we trust Him.

    We can learn, as we embrace changes, to contribute to those around us and leave a worthy legacy. It’s not a time to be stubborn or fearful. Seniors can embrace change as a gift from God. 

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Rawpixel

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    2. Enjoy God with Abandon.

    Slide 2 of 10

    The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

    Senior Christians may focus on the first goal of trying to glorify God in their attitudes and actions, but forget about the second goal. God wants us to enjoy Him with abandon. It’s what John Piper calls “our grand obligation.” We pursue our joy in the Lord.

    How do we do that? We delightin Him, rejoicein Him with gladness, praiseHim in song, worship Him, express our gratitude, and serveHim in holiness. In short, we celebrate the Lord! The older we get, the bolder we should become in enjoying our God and showcasing His splendor. It’s a testimonyto younger generations.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Paul Bradbury

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    3. Explore Options for Growth.

    Slide 3 of 10

    Cognitive therapists say it’s wise to “work our brain,” to exercise the mind as well as the body as we age. As a result, there are numerous lifelong learner programs to help keep aging minds sharp; but seniors need to be brave and use them.

    There are many options for growth that improves memory skills, increase self-confidence and help seniors meet and mature alongside others.

    But seniors can also learn on their own and keep “mental juices” flowing. They might visit a museum, an art gallery, an exhibit or a conference.

    Reading, working crossword puzzles or actual puzzles or taking up photography are healthy pursuits. The really brave can become an expert on a topic of interest.

    My 90-plus father-in-law is still a docent on an aircraft carrier, giving talks about World War II.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    4. Examine Attitudes with Honesty.

    Slide 4 of 10

    We’re all too familiar with grumpy, negative, and mean seniors. Just because a person grows older, that’s never an excuse for allowing hurtful attitudes. Attitudes are not stagnant. They do not stand alone. They come from beliefs and lead to behaviors.

    Seniors need to ask, “What are the beliefs motivating my attitudes—especially attitudes that grate on people or make them uncomfortable?” And then ask, “What are the attitudes that are motivating my behaviors?”

    The Bible says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” It’s important to examine attitudes with honesty to see how they align with scripture. Then we can determine what needs to change to enable us to think and respond more like Jesus.

    Our attitudes should always reflect the Lord’s. Put on the attitudes of the “new self” in Christ.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    5. Eliminate Behaviors that Defeat.

    Slide 5 of 10

    Isn’t it time to get victory over bad habits?

    We might think about the behaviors that have defeated us for years—behaviors that hold us back from God’s best. What habits still enslave us or lead to feelings shame? All is forgiven in Christ, but He still wants our hearts to change.

    We may believe we have good reasons for rotten behavior, but there are no good excuses. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to motivate and enable us toward Christlike behavior.

    If we’ve recently received the Lord, unhealthy sin patterns may still be tripping us up every day; but if we have known the Lord for years, there should be the expectation for and evidence of spiritual maturity.

    The Bible is full of helps to overcome and even eliminate unhealthy, hurtful behaviors. We are more than conquerors in the cross of Christ.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Robert Daly

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    6. Elevate Things that Matter.

    Slide 6 of 10

    The counsel of scripture is to number our days so we can apply our hearts to wisdom. Wisdom begins with proper reverence for the Lord and His priorities.

    It took me nearly 20 years into my mid-life walk with the Lord before I asked Him, “What matters to You, Lord, in my home, in my faith-walk, in my career, and in my relationships?” Once I believed I received the Lord’s answer in regard to biblical standards and godly priorities, I was able to be more intentional about pursuing them into my senior years.

    It’s never too late to elevate things that matter to the Lord. God continually looks to strengthen those with committed hearts—people willing to place everything in His hands. The great patriarchs of the Hebrew Scriptures pursued what mattered to God, as did the Apostle Paul.

    And Jesus in the flesh desired to please the Father in all things. He is our best example of fearless pursuit of the will of God.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kristy Anne Glubish Design Pics

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    7. Encourage People You Love.

    Slide 7 of 10

    I love to look at and finger the imprints of plant life in rocks. I have a bowl of rocks with fern imprints in my living room as a reminder that I will someday leave imprints in the lives of others.

    One of the ways we need to be bolder as seniors is in the area of relationships, especially those closest to us. We need to encourage them with a godly legacy. We do this through our words and deeds. Our goal is to develop a heritage that will abide forever as our children and grandchildren embrace and follow the truth of the Bible.

    Don’t neglect leaving a strong testimony to the grace and power and loving care of God. It will instill courage in your loved ones, and perhaps empower them to live for the Lord.

    Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/Kuzmichstudio

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    8. Enrich Days through Friendships.

    Slide 8 of 10

    The hard thing about friendships as we age is watching so many friends weaken with illness or even pass on into eternity.

    We need to learn how to discern who is a good, biblical friend. Our friendship can enrich the lives of others, and good friendships can enrich our days until the day we die.

    We need to constantly cultivate new friends. I tell women to, as they get older, be sure they develop loyal, loving, learning, leaning, listening, laughing and lifting friends. No one human friend can meet all our needs. Only Jesus, our lifelong Friend, can do that.

    But we can be brave to cultivate friends who can help us thrive in our senior years. Show yourself friendly!

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Shironosov

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    9. Enhance Health for Vitality.

    Slide 9 of 10

    Yes, the body is falling apart. Solomon’s description of aging is disheartening. We’re all terminal, and only a few steps from the grave.

    But we can still practice a healthy lifestyle, no matter our age. We can engage our health at the highest level possible and enhance what we have left for the glory of God.

    It’s wise to pay attention to eating healthy foods. Eat the whole rainbow of good foods—red apples, green beans, yellow bananas, etc. Get up and move your muscles. Stretch. Get as much good sleep as possible, but don’t “sleep away” your senior years.

    If we want vitality—the state of being strong and active with energy—we can’t get lazy. Be courageous and try new, healthy lifestyle foods and activities. Get out and enjoy God’s creation. Breathe deeply. Manage stress. Be intentional and enhance health for God’s glory.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Monkeybusinessimages

  • 1. Embrace Change with Confidence.

    10. Expect God to Be Faithful!

    Slide 10 of 10

    We need to be especially courageous when days feel dark and burdensome. When a cancer diagnosis comes. When money gets scarce. When fears come knocking and uncertainties threaten to cripple us.

    The courageous act in these times is to practice God’s presence. He wants to arrest your fears as you rest in Him. Find all you need in the Shepherd’s presence. Remember nothing has caught Father God by surprise, and He is working behind the scenes. Seek to see His hand in the little things.

    Note answers to prayer and special gifts and blessings He shares. Keep a record of God’s faithfulness in your senior years to encourage those who will follow you. Expect Him to be faithful and anticipate His care.

    There is great freedom in God-centered courage. Find your hope in Christ alone, and live bravely in His love.


    Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists author and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, publishes Upgrade with Dawn, and writes for Crosswalk.com and Christianity.com. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with Pacesetter Global Outreach. 

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc.