Recently, I met a beautiful 20-year-old who was crowned Miss Teen Florida a few years ago and 2nd runner-up to Miss Florida. Talk about feeling intimidated by such a beautiful young woman. Yes, for a moment I wondered if I looked like an old woman to her. Talk about feeling like a rotary phone in a voice prompted world. Surely, I must have seemed ancient to her. I found myself adjusting my mannerisms in order to connect with her on some level. We had minimal common ground. As I pondered how the inside of me was acting differently around her I began to ask myself why? Why, was I feeling like this? Sometimes a good old reality check is what it takes to get me to move in the direction to pray for myself and in this case for her. And, in praying, guess what I discovered?
Insecurity, yep, really that is exactly what was going on in my heart. As I began to unpack that feeling on the inside, I realized the insecurity came from the huge gap between her generation and mine. That feeling was making me feel unsettled. Her culture being Generation Z and mine being Generation X. Did her beauty have anything to do with it? Well, yes a little. I’d be lying to you which would not work for a Christian blog if I said no. However, once I pulled the beauty aspect of it apart it did not have a hold on me. I know that God has made me and her fearful and wonderful. And honestly, you know something else? Miss Florida has cellulite too! Yes, as she was sitting there in my salon chair with her legs crossed I saw it. The little annoying ripples, bumps, and lumps that plague most women all over the world. The women of the beauty industry and modeling industry have cellulite just like you and me. So, no worries that industry has it too. Thank God for Photoshop.
So, what about this other part of feeling insecure concerning this huge generational gap? It was tugging at my heart. I was trying to connect with someone who was more than two decades younger than me. I was trying to find common ground with a person whose generation is so different from mine. This may not be exactly accurate for all of us but this is how I view it. At times, I feel so lost and out of touch with this world. I watch commercials, listen to people, and observe people. They have the newest gadgets, current with updates and are in tune with the newest trends. If I watch the world around me then I can begin to sense the mindset and reality of people’s interest and hearts. I feel as though I am being left behind.
There is always a new app, a new phone, a new restaurant, a new fashion trend, a new home décor trend, a snap it, pin it, hashtag it, YouTube it, brand it, a new superfood, a new vitamin, and a new politically incorrect word. A generation bent on if you change the word or phrase it won’t somehow be offensive or that it will somehow change the reality of how things really are. It is a generation of same-sex marriage, transgender bathroom rights, politically correct speech, a modern mindset that thinks I should have everything the same as you whether I worked for it or not, a generation of education and technology at their fingertips like never before. A generation that will have severe neck and hand issues when they are old from gaming and phone addictions. I actually was told that I was out of touch in a recent college class because I was appalled at how someone’s opinion whether right or wrong got them fired. In some ways yes I am totally lost when it comes to the latest thing trending or even lost to the artificial intelligence age that we are moving into. I met a 20-year-old and suddenly I felt lost in the gap. I’m too young for Talbots and too old for Forever 21. Ugh! Yes, I am 43 and lost without a clue to some of it. Should I get my head out of the sand or should I know just enough to speak and connect and adapt to all that is going on around me?
How about you? Do you feel the same way at times too? How connected or disconnected do you feel to the younger generations? How do we find common ground and a connection between the gaps of age and a fast-moving ever-changing culture with new laws, etiquette, and views?
For me, I really needed some answers from Jesus. And, as I did pray concerning how I would connect to this the 20-year old and addressing my disconnected insecurity a clearer mindset began to form. My feelings started to subside and I saw her and this generation Z in a different way. I began to picture looking into her eyes with no makeup on, no crown, no wealth, and no accolades and I began to see a girl just like you and me. A girl who desires above all in her core to be loved and feel safe and secure. I began to see her as Jesus would. A lost soul in need of love, forgiveness, and a savior. I do not care how this generation or the generation to come snaps it, tweets it, pins it, or programs it the need will be the same: true and genuine love. Love will always cover a multitude of sins. No matter who we come in contact with and no matter their age or status the fruit and extension of the love of Jesus in us will connect us. We can gain access and connectedness to a soul that just might need Jesus. The love of Jesus is one way I know how to connect with this generation.
My answer is old school. A tradition and a value that is never ending, never changing, and always relevant, Love. Love is patient and kind. This kind of love is rooted and grounded in the mighty God we serve. We serve a God who is never changing in His love for the newborn, the tween, the teen, the young adult, the twenty-somethings, the thirty-somethings, the new 20 which is 40, the loving life 50 somethings, and the daring sixty folks and the beautiful beyond. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! His love is everlasting to all generations and He fills the gaps, period!
For further study, I encourage you to look up the following scriptures: Psalm 100:5 and Psalm 139:13-14, 1 Cor 13:4-7, Hebrews 13:8, 1 Peter 4:8
For further meditation on God, may I suggest a journal entry using this question: Am I feeling disconnected with someone younger than me and if so how could this feeling of disconnect change if I were to show them the love of Jesus?