Chapter 12 in AHA is about defeatism. According to my trusty Webster’s Dictionary, defeatism is “expectation or unresisting acceptance of the prospect of defeat.”
I want to say I don’t have this but I do in some areas of my life. There are some things that I have a very fearful attitude toward. Maybe I tell myself that I don’t have the talent.
Defeatism can even be worse than that.
Defeatist statements that we say are those little thoughts like “It is too late for me.” “I am past my prime.” “I need to let the young people do this.” “It is beyond me.” “I am an old dog, and I can’t be taught new tricks.”
In my opinion, defeatism is so scary. You are admitting that your time has run out.
I don’t want to admit that.
God doesn’t want me to admit it either.
Sure, I am not the man I was when I was 25 but what I am has been brought about by 63 years of living. I know my wife doesn’t believe me but I remember what I felt like when I was 25. It wasn’t a “bowl of cherries” back then.
However I am not dead. God has 63 year old opportunities for me and he wants me moving forward.
Several folks at my church know I work with Christian Education, the arranging of opportunities for growth in spiritual learning in Sunday School and special education experiences at St. John United Methodist. I spent many years as a college student and many years as a college professor and I had an expression in Latin posted on my door at my office at my college: ancora imparo.
That expression is on my wall at home now. It means “still learning.”
I am disheartened by people at church who don’t participate in Christian Education classes or Sunday School classes. In my mind, they seem to not want to learn. Maybe they have no need to grow. What they are doing right now is good enough.
What will happen to them one day?
Their time will run out.
Why are they stuck in habits of doing the same thing over and over again?
Maybe they are saying in their minds:
“It is too late for me.”
“I am past my prime.”
“I need to let the young people do this.”
“It is beyond me.”
“I am an old dog, and I can’t be taught new tricks.”
Why not ancora imparo?