Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”— Psalm 40:3

There’s the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Well, I have proof that you can.

Yesterday, I learned an entirely new skill: how to play hand bells. My teenager has been playing with our church bell choir for a few years and really enjoys it. I know several of the people and have attended some of their gatherings as well. They are truly a great group of people, and being older adults, they absolutely adore my daughter as part of their group. I was invited to be a sub for another ringer, and so begins my journey of picking up the concept of playing bells in three weeks.

It’s kind of funny— I am usually the one encouraging my kids to try new things, calming them when something seems difficult, and being their cheerleader when they take off. My daughter was in that role last night. When I peevishly got into the car and lamented about how I would stink at bells (since I had never played them), she assured me she would be right beside me. And so she was.

As I listened to the director, took my first tentative rings, listened to the tones, and learned to count the rhythms, my daughter took over as mentor and encouraged me each step of the way. She counted out difficult rhythms, showed me the notes to play, practiced with me, and turned the pages. Once the other ringers arrived and the true rehearsal started, I noticed I was having fun. With the guidance of my daughter and gentle words from others around me, I made it through the first piece. Yes, I made mistakes, but no one minded, and as I listened to the deep beautiful tones of the bells ringing together, I felt a large grin slowly move across my face. I felt like I was in heaven itself.

I feel like an “old dog” and yes, I can learn new tricks. We all can. No matter our age, we can all learn something new at any time of our lives. Whether it’s a new hobby, a skill, a role, an experience, or a lesson in faith, it is never too late to keep learning. God is a God of new things. We just have to be open to God’s leading and see what He has in store for us.

Are you learning something new right now? Who is walking alongside you to encourage you? How might God be stretching you in a new direction? Take heart, lean into this “new trick”, and know that God is walking by your side.

Prayer— “Gracious God, you ask us to learn new things every day. Open our eyes to your work in our lives and give us the courage to step out and try something new that will enrich our lives and our faith in you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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