Do you know people who always seem angry, or at least ready to challenge any comment at the drop of a hat? These folks seldom smile or appear to be in a happy mood and quite honestly, no one wants to be around them. They seem poised and ready for conflict at all times. They take aim at not just close family or friends, but sales clerks, waitresses, their doctor or insurance agent, anyone really.
You know, it’s easy to understand why people are like this. The past couple years have been daunting. If you didn’t get sick, you may have suffered financially. Or perhaps there were major life challenges long before covid came along. Folks can face potential trouble at every turn, in every season of life, and as we age the cumulative effect can leave us in a state of total frustration and perhaps ready to explode at anyone. I expect that’s how the “grumpy old folks” myth gained traction. Thus, the need for intentionality!
When teachers begin the new school year they have a plan, a plan of what they wish to accomplish, the pathway there, and the desired outcome. I know families who do the same thing. Each year they create a goals initiative. Some even make it a visual, a mind-map of sorts. In so doing identifying shortcomings and how to overcome them is part of the process. I consider this to be a very smart move.
As seniors we need to be just as intentional, and perhaps even more so than ever. I don’t mean simply creating a bucket list, although this too may help to keep us focused and energized. I’m taking about a steadfast and earnest plan which will help us maintain a positive and satisfying outlook as we accomplish our goals. We must be deliberate in our objectives because as Susan Macias says, “We’re not done yet!” God’s still got a task for us and there are people in our lives we can impact through words or example.
You can start out by simply making a pact with God to look for the good each day, even in the yucky stuff. I know you’ve heard this a million times before but the fact is we often lose sight of God’s faithfulness in the midst of rush and turmoil. Write it down or tell someone in order to keep yourself accountable. Slow down to ponder your progress. It’s true that in time such a focus can and will change your attitude. Lisa Burgess says, “When I’m not intentional about keeping my glasses with me, I miss out on seeing the good things.” And, when you live on purpose like this, you see all the wondrous details and details are tiny pearls of pleasure, contentment and wisdom you may not see if you are rushing about.
But there are far deeper riches to be found. Don’t just respond to each day according to how you feel. Our emotions can be so fickle and transient. Design your time so that you’ll reap the greatest rewards for yourself and those around you. Perhaps your movement is limited for some reason but do what you can. You can still be deliberate. Move passionately, mindfully towards the goal you have set. Again, think about it, write it down and tell someone. Partnering is good, too. Evaluate your progress regularly.
This is a time in our life to WALK. A time to move forward with the greatest intentionality. Perhaps for years you’ve been running in busyness, or illness or despair and it has left you frustrated and spent with a very sour attitude. But we have a destiny, and an assignment to fulfill before we get there! Jesus purposefully walked towards his destiny. He never ran anywhere. He was never anxious or hurried no matter what people tried to demand of Him. He walked in complete confidence with the Father. Even when those around Him tried to rush him along, He remained steadfast and determined to walk. Jairus’ daughter was so very ill. Mark 5:21-43. The situation was dire, most urgent. Yet, Jesus walked to Jairus’ home and even paused to heal the woman with the issue of blood along the way. Think of what may have happened to her, what she might have missed, if He’d been running to the sick child. But Jesus walked in faith and intentionality. He knew exactly where he was going and what he had to accomplish there.
“And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known….”