Thank you Encouragement for Today for today’s message….
What we believe shows in the way we act, the decisions we make, and the choices we pursue. Over a decade ago, I learned this important lesson from a winsome woman I met at a women’s retreat. Her name was Ruth.
Ruth stood out in the retreat crowd not only because of her lustrous gray hair but also because of the cluster of younger women around her. They were talking with her, doting on her, and soaking in every word she said, so I headed over to meet this woman who drew in like a magnet.After listening to this delightful woman talk for a while, I asked her, “What’s your secret? Over the years, how have you continued to grow in the Lord, stay positive and exude joy?” Her answer was simple yet profound,
“Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”
As she spoke, I remembered a conversation from a girls-night-out with some women from my church. Conversation flowed freely from one topic to the next as I got to know the women across from me. We talked about our kids, our homes and our work. Ironically, both women had done specialized nursing with geriatric patients.
I started to question them about their work and their patients. Finally I asked, “Why do you think that so many older people, particularly women, seem to struggle with negativity as they age?” Both looked at me in surprise and said that I was incorrect. They were unanimous in their theory of how aging affects personality.
“Aging only magnifies who you already are,” my friend said.
“Yes,” chimed in the other, “If you are kind when you are young, then you’ll be even kinder as you age. If you think positively when you’re young, then you will also have that habit as you age. But if you are a complainer when you are young, then you’ll get worse as you age. If you are unforgiving when you are young, then you’ll become very bitter as you age.”
They explained that occasionally diseases that affect the brain will change a person’s personality, thinking and actions. Generally, however, through stories and comments of family members about the early days of their elderly patients, they had found that their original hypothesis held true. Ruth’s answer to my question about the secret to aging well was completely consistent with my friends’ observations. “Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”
I’d like to propose a corrolary truth to Ruth’s today:
What you believe determines who you’ll be.
Aging magnifies what we believe. If we believe that Jesus commands us to use words to build up, then we’ll develop the habit of encouraging words.
If we believe that God is good despite our circumstances, then we’ll develop the pattern of praise in the midst of hardship.
If we believe that He is the provider and healer, then we’ll cultivate patient, expectant waiting (without complaint…ouch!) as we wait for His provision and healing.
If we believe that the fruits of the Spirit given to us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we’ll pursue portraying those traits.
Ruth’s beliefs shone brightly because of the kind of woman she had become. Who she had become reflected what she believed.
Do you desire to be a godly, older woman like Ruth? I do! Then, we’re called to pursue knowing Truth (belief is part of truly knowing!) and living the Truth. It really does change everything– including our aging.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!