“Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years”
Episode 4: Six Essentials to Finishing Well - We will CONNECT
The power of relationships is more and more profoud as we get on in years. Connecting with others is the second of our six essentials for finishing well becuase it is where we find purpose and ignite compassion for others. Finding ways to love and serve others guards us from isolation, bitterness, and loneliness.
Dr Randy Hess: 0:08
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the finishing well podcast world where we are trying to encourage you and other seasoned believers. And when I say season, I mean senior, okay? See your seasons believers to find meaningful ways to impact their world, for the kingdom of God. And
Dr Hal Habecker: 0:49
It is a good day. Today is our second session on the six essentials, we started. The last one with growth continuing to grow is the foundational requirement to finish well, we might say, by the way, there are six of these. They are growing, connecting, loving and caring, investing, being available, and planning ahead for when we won't be here. So there's six essentials. And we want to process each one of them we started with growing today, we want to do connecting which is the power of relationships. It means this we will not live alone, we will not live isolated lives. Like the song no man is an island. We are created for connection connections. Let me introduce his Randy, this is a little piece that you kind of put in my place in my head, you have a little cartoon we've created, visualize this, you got to get up in the morning, get up, you have to reach out, reach out to somebody else and lift somebody else up make a difference in somebody else's life. It's that reach out and lift up that has to do with connecting you went on larger networks a little bit.
Dr Randy Hess: 2:24
I think it's a short summary of what you have been saying for quite some time how and finishing well. And I thought that might that phrase might capture what what would work for people to summarize it quickly. But we just want to make sure as we go through that today that we explain and touch upon what what we're getting at. Yes, the the point about getting up is not that I'm necessarily getting out of bed or waking up, that certainly could be a vision of what we're doing because God allowed me to have another day. What am I gonna do with it. But as I was thinking about that, it summarized a point that you and I have discussed over and over again, that's aging well. And by summarizing it as just simply getting up, what we're talking about is I'm trying to age in a way that allows me to get away from myself a little bit to overcome, if you will, my my current restrictions, my my possible ailments, my possible difficulties with my own life. And think beyond those two, the people that I love the people that I care about the people who are my friends, the people who are out there that also need help. And so getting up is sort of a mental, if you will, attitude, getting up in my book out. I'm not sure if that's I think that's how you think of it too, because we, we have talked about growing in a previous podcast. And if I'm growing, I'm learning that, you know, life isn't just about me. Life is about other people. Life is about how I'm impacting other people. Life is about what I can do to impact other people in some sort of positive way. So a lot said there to talk about what getting up means in my in my vision of talking about Aging. Well, one more point how an aging well. It's a challenge for everybody. There is no person, I think, philosophy that isn't struggling in some form or fashion as we age, simply from physical ailments, but also for many other challenges in our lives. So aging well is important. If I do not age well, I think we wind up doing is sitting around, concerned, hung up and thinking about number one. Let's launch into this a little bit more, I want to give you some illustrations that come to me from the natural world that really helped me, there are actually four these are the basic building blocks of the universe is the atom, you take an atom visualize it, you got a nucleus of the atom, and how many electrons spin around that nucleus. So an atom the fundamental building block of the universe, the smallest thing you might say, is built of connections. So you look at your hand, you look at the walls, you got billions and billions of atoms spinning around, they're all connected, interconnected with each other. You take the human body. I mean, our human body is a series of connections, you know, our limbs, every every organ system in the body. It's all connected. It's built not as an isolated unit. You know, in creation, men and women, male and female were created for each other. Yeah, you know, I love to watch the geese fly north and south. You know, they never fly alone. They're always in this V shaped formation. And the geese always move the lead one peels off goes to the back, the next one moves up, you know, they help each other. They don't live life alone in that sense. And then of course, you know, I'm a cyclist. The idea of the peloton just is a visual. For a visual learner. You know, the lead guy in the peloton will spend 86% of his energy leading the peloton, whereas the guy tucked in at the back, being sucked along in the draft of those ahead of him only needs to spend 5% of his energy to keep up with the peloton. That's crazy. I mean, but you illustrates to me the power of relationships. And the problem with aging, generally speaking, is the aging isolates us. You know, as physical things change, we can't move as fast we can't get out, we can't do as much. They may even take our car away or whatever. But it's the aging process is an isolating process if we don't watch it, you know, you work where you work. What we do when our kids are there, our home spins with energy, our work is filled with other people we see them but COVID has changed all that. You know, and even ag once you retire, those relationships diminish, and that's the idea I want to get at, in this second essential connected, we will not live alone, we will not live isolated lodge that makes now. Yes, it does have I'm just curious in that since you started this ministry, about five years ago, you visited in a lot of settings and a lot of senior settings. And I know you've seen a lot of groups and individuals. Have you continued to form your ideas about finishing? Well, from what you see in some of those settings. Are you seeing people kind of be too isolated? In some cases, even though they're in a group? Are they still isolating themselves? Absolutely. And with COVID-19 and even is more exacerbated? Yep. People tend, I mean, just in life, you tend to live more alone. Like for example, you go to an assisted living for a senior living facility. Your kids don't come to see you as much your grandkids certainly don't come to see you as much. And even as you live in common hallways, you see people but there is this theme of isolation that begins to creep in and even in the church right now. I mean, we can't go to church together in a sense, and older people are more vulnerable. So we're all zooming so we tend to be a little bit isolated. We tend to be more isolated as the time goes. Yeah. And you know, there is a personality difference in people there's there are introverts, there's extroverts. But you get the point of finishing well Is that even if you're an extreme introvert, you still need other people. We do. Now I want to share a couple of biblical themes on this. Because the scriptures are our foundation for all of life. I think of a verse like proverbs 1717, iron sharpens iron. And so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Now, if we're not together in a relationship, sharpening each other, as persons, you know, we tend to become dull in our edges, you know, it makes a difference. The kind of friendships we share in life, who out there is sparking me, who out there is created friction for me, challenging the way I think not only challenging, but encouraging me to develop this, I think of our board, Randy and finishing well, ministries, I think of friendships at church, you know, am I isolated? Do I pick and choose who I want to interact with? And therefore kind of be more alone in the process? Or are there a handful of people around me that I invest in, and they invest in me, that helped me grow? I mean, it makes a huge, huge difference in life, if there are other people to whom with whom I am connected, so that I refuse to live by myself and other people challenge me, they encouraged me, and they helped me grow. That's, you know, that makes a strong connection right there how I was just thinking about our previous podcast, and the whole idea of growing. And I'm wondering, is just the kind of growing we are talking about, is is not necessarily the person sitting isolated, alone, everyday reading a book, or isolated, isolated, alone, watching the screen somewhere, or working on their computer or working on their, their phone. We're talking about growth that comes through interaction with other people, are we not? We are, we're talking about face to face growth, where people talk about what God's doing in their lives and where he wants us to grow, and how other people can influence that. Yes. And other people do influence that if we allow it. But if we wall them off, then I think our point about growth is it's going to be really difficult for that. I think you're writers to continue to grow. So So I guess the connecting essential here is, as you said earlier, they are all intertwined, but it's very connected to growth, is it not? It is I need other people to grow. I need other people to keep me sharp. And I mentioned, it's proverbs 2717. I think I mentioned earlier, it's 17 is chapter 27, verse 17, where as I engage friendship, people sharpen me, and they equip me to grow better to be more of God's person in life. Yes, let me give you two other biblical sites, and then we can think about this and frame it up a little bit better. Well, I'm often puzzled, not puzzled. I'm intrigued by why Jesus chose 12 disciples. You know, actually, one deserted him at the end, Judas. He invested his life and 12 people, and 11 at the end in the upper room after Judas leaves. And he says in John 15, he says, I've called you friends, because everything that I know from my father I've made known to you. So Jesus himself is interacting with 11 other men and investing himself in their lives. And of course, he does that with every disciple. Jesus has no limit on his friends, you know, spiritually speaking, but physically he did. You know, he had John as his best friend. He had Peter James and John has his three then he had the other 11. Then he had the 70. But Jesus was invested in relationships. And I think this is what the writer of Hebrews captures in Hebrews 10. When he says, let us consider one another. I mean, he refuses to live in isolated life. But rather he says, let us consider one another to provoke. That's the old language or stimulate provoke is a negative idea used in a positive way. He doesn't really want to provoke friendships, but he wants there was different rinses to be a stimulate, to love and good deeds not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the habit of some, but encouraging each other, all the more as the day draws near. So as we age, in our 60s and 70s, or 80s, or 90s, these relationships are absolutely critical and even more critical to resist the isolation they creeps in, in order to help us grow and help us to be the men, women, and seniors and elders that God calls us to be. Does that make sense? Does does. And so in the looking at the little framework for connecting with others, we have a nominee in there just after we have so called reached out to somebody, but that we that we lift them up, but the reaching out, how is what I believe some of our compatriots, senior folks, puzzle over is all right, how I get that you want me to get up, so to speak mentally, and think about other people, or give consideration to my, my family, my friends that are looking for some words of wisdom and something from me. I get that. But how do I do it? How? How do I? They don't want they don't pay attention to me? They don't they don't contact me. They don't? You know, so that you're telling me to reach out? What do you mean by that? How, how do we do that? I think it's the idea of friendship. You know, Ecclesiastes three, you know, if there are two people, they can keep each other warm. But if there's only one person, how do you keep warm by yourself. And then Solomon says A cord of three strands is not quickly broken, or torn apart. So I think this reaching out and refusing to live in isolated live means taking the initiative to engage in continuing and growing friendships. Wherever I am in life, it makes a difference, will I engage? Or will I shrink back into the woodwork so to speak? And not have those friendships? I think that's the bottom line. Yes, we all have different personalities, I'm more of an outward going person, you know, I engage people all the time all. But it doesn't matter. I mean, we all need other people who are different than ourselves. And if you're a resin hesitant person, and relationships, you know, there's where I would encourage a step of faith. How can you pray for other people? How can you engage other people? How can you converse with other people? How can you ask questions about other people? I mean, asking questions is a great way of growing a relationship. You know, when I sit down with another person, one of my questions is, I just love to hear your story. Tell me Where'd you grow up? You know, what did you do with your life, and I'm an I am meeting as many people in my age in years than I ever have in the past. And so each new person who comes into my life is an open window into how I can grow in a very unique way, just like our friendship, you know, I never knew you until, what, 789 years ago somewhere and God brought you into my life. And you have engaged me and we have developed a friendship, we have not been isolated. That makes sense. Does. And so partly is following what God is leading us, isn't it? It is doors do open if we pay attention to them, doors to new relationships, doors to a new friend doors to a person who could use a word of encouragement from me in some form or fashion and hasn't voiced that or hasn't said that or hasn't even indicated that. And so nothing is stopping me in a sense. How is it from sending a note to them if I still am writing notes to people, nothing's preventing me from emailing them. Nothing's preventing me from sending them a text if I do that sort of thing. Or giving them a call just reaching out and making a phone call. But what is preventing that is it me how it's myself, isn't it that says they don't need that or I don't need to be spending my time doing that. Something along that line that prevents it? Well, let's let's wrap up this discussion by Talking about the barriers that are out there, what what does keep me, I think one thing I run into a lot of people have various hurts in their life, they have engaged other people, they have shared something with other person. And they have discovered that whatever they were shared, could not be trusted, somebody else has taken it and run with that information and abused it, or somebody reaches out, and they anticipate the other person reaching back and they really don't. And they say, Well, that's the last time I'm going to do that. So there are all kinds of barriers that are that begin to be created in our lives, by the experiences we have. Those hurts are just one of those. Yep, I just think job changes when you retire. You know, when, when you're in a, in a profession that expects you have to relate to other people, you have other people around you, or even as COVID-19 has affected people are working from homes today. So they're not having the value of having face to face interaction. But that's part of retirement that's part of COVID-19. So then I asked myself, well, what am I going to do to fill the vacuum of all those people who were a part of my life, you go to a new church, you move to a different part of the country or whatever, in retirement, maybe you lose your kids, I mean, your kids move off. So what are you going to do to recreate and continue the emphasis of connecting with other people even in your family? Yes. I. So I've come to my own little shall we say, corollaries of theories here somewhere along the way about people, one of them is that it's harder for men to do that. It's harder for men to do what you just described. And what we're talking about is just finding a way to reach out to other people can be daunting to some of us guys. That we just don't feel like other guys want it or need that. Can that that encouragement from us? And it's just the opposite, isn't it? They really could use it. And we find that out if we take that little chance or risk and try it. And so then that lifting up, that lifting up, is that a big thing or a little thing out in your mind? Whatever lifting up means? Well, I think whenever you take the initiative to engage somebody else's life, it's a huge thing. It's a big thing. It takes faith, it takes energy, it takes God dealing with me and saying how I want you to grow, I want you to connect with these people. Because we don't ever know what that really means. In the big scope and the big picture. How does it guide us My encouragement of somebody else in the big we will never know. All we do know Randy though. We know how other people have impacted us. And a word of encouragement and reaching out to us when other people have done that it means the world to us. And we can only imagine how God uses it in their lives. So there's lots of different ways to lift people up a sweat, I hear you saying it is so my prayer in this podcast, the importance of connecting, refusing to live an isolated life. But continuing to grow in these latter years more than ever, is like creating a convoy of aging people who are well connected, praying for each other encouraging each other as a part of your local church as a part of your network. As a part of your family wherever you are making a difference for Christ or using this peloton idea you know we are a group of seniors with a group of elders pressing on through the journey of life encouraging each other more than ever before. So I hope this has been challenging and encouraging for you as you've listened and I hope you'll engage in our podcasts for finishing well ministries can be found on our website pinching well ministries dot o RG forward slash podcasts. And I trust that will help you and look for them, anticipate them then we want to continue to encourage you right rain we do. Well, God bless you and have a great day.