July 10, 2013

A Lesson from the Older Folks: Be Bold in Your Faith

I have loved working with older adults for the past two months. If there's anything I've really admired about them, it's how bold so many of them are with their faith. The ones who love the Lord are not afraid to share it with anyone who will listen, living out Romans 1:6 ("For I am not ashamed of the Gospel.  For it is the power of God unto salvation for all believers, the Jew first, and the Greeks") 

These are just some of the things patients have said:
  • "The Lord promised in his Word that He will never leave us or forsake us. He's always by our side, and there's a reason for everything, even if the only reason is to strengthen our relationship with Him."
  • "I know I'm going to get better, but it will only be with the help of the Lord." 
  • "I have been improving a little bit every single day, and I owe it all to the Lord." 
  • "Every good thing comes from God." 
  • When asking a 100+ year old the secret to living to 100: "I have put God first throughout my whole life, and in return he has been so good to me.  I wake up every morning and thank him for waking me up to see a new day and for helping me with everything I need to do." 
  • There are frequent exclamations of "God is so good,"  "Praise the Lord," and "Thanks be to God!" 
  • There are also frequent prayers: "Please Lord, just help me do this!"  And these prayers are said in a sincere way, not how some people exclaim things like "God help us all!" 

I don't know whether it's because of their age and experiences or because of their culture, but these adults have no inhibitions about sharing their faith.  There are no worries about whether or not they're talking to people who don't believe in God, and they have no fears of rejection.  They share what's on their hearts, and they want everyone to see how good God is. 

So why am I so reserved and timid about sharing my faith?  I have no problem talking with my husband and close friends about it and sharing it on the Internet (I mean, duh, I have a blog), but why not in day to day conversations, even with people I don't know?   Is it an age thing or a personality thing? 

I guess part of it comes from worrying about imposing my faith on others who aren't believers and causing offense.  But is it really imposing or offensive to share where my joy comes from?  Sharing in a way that doesn't come off as you should believe this, but the way my patients go about doing it in showing how God is working in their lives.  

While I obviously can't bring up religion on fieldwork unless a patient starts the conversation,  I am trying to figure out how I can become more bold and fearless in sharing my faith.  I suppose a start could be bringing it up with strangers.  If a stranger congratulates me on my pregnancy, I could respond with something like "Thank you so much. God has truly blessed us!"  Other than that, I am giving it some thought as to how I can be more open.  

After all, we are all called to spread the Word.

"And he said to them 'Go forth to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.' "
- Mark 16:15 

How do you go about sharing your faith with others?  Do you talk about your faith with strangers? Do you wait for someone else to bring it up before you talk about it?  

16 comments:

  1. Caitlin, I agree with you that older adults really do exclaim to the Lord every day. Don't be afraid to use the Bible or prayer in your treatment. You will come to know the patients that truly need prayer and some scriptures throughout your treatment.

    I was working with a pt on a communication board and making decisions. We used the Bible every sessions to locate a passage in the Bible and "read" together.

    God is so good and has allowed us the opportunity to experience his love through our patients.

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    1. I just love that you did that with one of your patients! How awesome to be able to connect like that with someone.

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  2. So glad you have gained so much from this experience!!

    Anytime strangers ask me about Caleb, if he was adopted, I do usually say something along the lines of how much God has blessed us with him. But other than that... it's hard. Like you, I don't want to offend people... but sometimes, it's amazing how when you mention that God has blessed you, often people do respond in kind. I don't think I've ever had a negative response now that I think of it. Maybe everyone else is fearful for the same reason we are?!

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    1. Yes, I am sure people are fearful for the same reasons! Adoption is such a good topic to lead into conversation about faith.

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  3. For myself, it came more naturally with age...not that I'm "old"! LOL But seriously. the more I matured in my faith (not emotion or age) the easier it became. I see that with wisdom, too. And I believe they go hand-in-hand. But don't get me wrong. I don't claim to be full of wisdom by no means, I just can see it growing and maturing as I age and as my faith grows and matures. Don't be afraid to live your life through actions, either :) That what Mother Theresa did her entire life.

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    1. I definitely see you as full of wisdom! :) And that is so, so true about showing your faith through your actions!!

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  4. One suggestion I have is when people ask how you are instead of saying I'm good/fine, say "I'm blessed!" They will think about God without you even having to say it. If they want to continue the conversation they will, if not, they won't. But it's an easy change to make that makes it easier to share the news:)

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    1. Love this! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Maryann. I get asked all the time how we're doing. "I'm blessed" is much better than my standard "Fine".

      :-)

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    2. Of course!! I thought the same thing when I heard it. Glad you like it!

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    3. LOVE THIS! What a great and simple idea! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  5. I'm a PTA by trade and when I work it is usually in nursing homes or home health so my primary patient load is geriatric and I love it for many reasons but this is one of them. I'm extremely vocal about my faith, almost anyone who spends any time with me knows much about my faith in a short time. I don't think I'm pushy and have never gotten a complaint, but I think it's primarily because I'm cchatty and our lives reflect our faith and it's hard to avoid that in conversation. One facility I work at is 2hrs away, people ask if I have to wake early so I mention yes but not that much earlier than the rest of the time because we get up for morning prayers and daily Mass. Someone was wearing a shirt about their trip to the Holy Land and I bring up my desire to go and how we enjoyed our honeymoon that included time in Rome. People ask how many kids we have and I say 2 but we're going the Lord blesses us with more and they ask how many and I smile and say however many God blesses us with. Those are just a few examples, reading your blog I see how much your faith shines here... you guys are living the Gospel, even if you aren't saying it, I'm sure that everyone who meets you sees your love of Christ in your actions. :)

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    1. I love this Jeanine, and I admire you so much for talking about your faith with your patients!

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  6. This is something that I also struggle with and have been writing about. I have been praying about it and asking the Lord to put me in situations where I can bring up and share my faith. It is so hard to get over the fear of offending someone or putting strain on a friendship. Glad to know I'm not alone in this.

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    1. It certainly is! Just the other day after writing this I almost said something when a situation came up, but then I stopped because I got too nervous. Goodness gracious, maybe one day I'll be a little more open!

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  7. Caitlyn, I have never commented on here before, but I have been following your blog for a while and I LOVE IT. I honestly don't even remember how I found it, but I'm so glad that I did. I love reading about your experiences and testimony of God. I have a blog too, and I just read this post and it is PERFECT for what I am trying to portray on my Blog right now. Do you mind if I used this post on my blog this week. E-mail me at kne11002@byui.edu! thanks!

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    1. You can absolutely share it! I will email you right now! :)

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