Sunday, April 06, 2014
This was written by a friend, Dr. Joe McKeever, and I thought everyone should have a chance to read it...
How to stay youthful all the way home
Posted on April 5, 2014 by Joe
“They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green….” (Psalm 92:14).
It occurs to me that there is one article I can write which Rick Warren cannot (not yet anyway), which Thom Rainer is not ready to write, and which some people couldn’t come up with if their lives depended on it.
“How to be young in old age.”
I’m in that “old age” period, I suppose. Man, it hurts to admit that. But then again, as they say, considering the alternative, I’m good with being 74.
And, I remind myself, I have done funerals for a lot of good people who would have given everything to live this long and see their children married and their grandchildren grow up. So, I am blessed and I thank the Lord.
If you are, thirty, let’s say, and reading this, then I suggest you stop and consider how you are feeling at this very moment. Well, that’s how I feel. I feel great, clear-headed, alert, alive, joyful, without a pain or ache in my body. Believe me, I am thankful.
That’s not the youthful part, though. When senior adults talk about being youthful, in most cases they’re not speaking of their libido or their athletic prowess. They’re talking about their spirit, their attitude.
And, from the reports of those who know me, I qualify.
So, therefore, let’s give it a try. How to stay youthful in old age. My top 10 ways….
1) Laugh a lot.
Genesis 21:6 “God has made laughter for me.” You too, friend. And some of us are not getting our minimum daily requirement. (Check out Psalm 4:7; 16:11, and 126:1-3.)
2)Give thanks to God throughout the day. It’s His day, He is supplying you with all those good things, and you are looking to Him for everything.
3) Spend lots of time with children.
Bob Anderson says, “We know Jesus was a happy person because children loved to be around Him. Children do not like to be with unhappy people.”
4) Be willing to try new things regularly.
The way I got it, in his 90′s, Oliver Wendell Holmes was discovered to be studying German. “Why?” someone asked. He said, “To improve my mind.”
5) Eat right and get enough rest.
Even though youthfulness is largely a matter of the human spirit, the body’s well-being plays a key part. When your body is hurting or will not function as it ought, it’s difficult to be joyful or to read, to get outside for work or play.
6) Exercise regularly and walk several times a week.
Almost daily we hear of medical reports on the wholesome effects of exercise on the human brain. One reason I walk so much is common sense says the day will come when I’ll not be able. I want to know that when I could, I did.
7) When you feel down and blue, don’t put up with it. Attack it!
It’s important not to enjoy one’s depression. Most of us can find ways of combatting those down-in-the-dump times. For me personally, nothing works better than getting out of the house and helping someone.
8) Keep on growing–by reading, listening, learning.
9) Stay active. The expression “use it or lose it” refers to muscle tone and to your brain’s powers.
10) Begin your days with prayer, and continue to speak to the Lord throughout your day.
When we asked Facebook friends how they manage to keep a youthful spirit, a hundred responses flooded the page, most saying some of the things above. But my buddy Jim Smith, a Sunday School teacher and longtime friend in our church here in metro New Orleans, left a paragraph worth setting in stone.
“Never retire. Always refire spiritually and physically. Act and think like you’re 35 when you’re 65. Laugh a lot. Buy a new house and finance it for 30 years. Make 5 and 10 year goals. Go to a rock concert every once in a while. Be the booking manager for a band. Hang out and be a friend to young people. Last but not least, swallow your gum.”
Yes, Jim does manage son Jake’s band. Oh, and we laugh at that last line, the one about swallowing your gum, because Jim is the “gum man” at church, handing out literally thousands of pieces of Trident gum over the decades. He is easily one of the coolest dudes (and the most positive!) I know. Margaret and I love him and Gail dearly.
Gomer Lesch, long retired from Southern Baptist’s “Lifeway Christian Resources” in Nashville, and now in his 90s, had this to say about his secret for staying young: “I don’t. I’m old and glad of it!”
I laughed at that, because I know Gomer. He is still as sharp as they come, still married to his first wife (he takes care of her), and he loves to laugh and be with happy people.
Which leads us to perhaps the most important point of all: We must choose joy.
I recall a book from a generation ago by the wonderful title, “Happiness is a choice.”
Everyone has reasons to worry and fret. No kidding, they do. Who among us has not awakened in the middle of the night with our spirits handing us a list of worries and concerns? If you care to, you can always be moping and weighted down by physical and financial matters, relationship problems, and fears about things that “might” happen.
But who wants to do that? Choose joy!
“This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:4).
In short, if everything has to be just so before you rejoice, you’ll never do anything but worry and gripe.
Rejoice by faith, friend.
That’s the key to a thousand things, a “youthful spirit in old age” being one of them.