TODAY THE WORDS are INSPIRATIONAL or SPIRITUAL? This topic came to my heart and I wanted to share my thoughts on this question. There are a lot of inspirational writers, speakers, and ordinary people who are extra-ordinarily full of inspiration. This does not mean they are without a spiritual side. When I think of a spiritual person, I think and feel the aura of a Higher Power at play. Does a spiritual person always have to be a minister, pastor, evangelist, holy man, priest, Rabbi, monk, etc? Not necessarily, but they are definitely in the spiritual ranking. Have you ever had a conversation with an elderly person who speaks of their life experiences for the purpose of encouraging others, especially younger folks? They are filled with inspiration using their “mistakes” of life and how that taught them how to be a better person. Not every one of them share their spiritual experiences; some of them do. We, then have the spiritual forerunners, Franklin Graham, John Hagee, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myers, Wayne Dyers, and others, who are inspirational in all of their messages and sermons. Several ones in today’s world come to my mind immediately and they accomplish both missions at one time.
Definitions from Merriam Webster for Inspiration and Spiritual
Simple Definition of inspiration
: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
: a good idea
Simple Definition of Spiritual
: of or relating to a person’s spirit
: of or relating to religion or religious beliefs
: having similar values and ideas : related or joined in spirit
When I started this blog, it went toward the inspirational format but God had His way of providing His Spiritual message and plopped it right in the message. I have never claimed to be anything but me.
Do we become more spiritual as we age? Here is an excerpt from an article. I pulled only the part that pertained to senior spirituality but you may want to read the entire article by clicking on the title.
Does Spirituality Become More Important As You Age?
For many people, spirituality does become more important. But it’s a highly individualized experience. No two people are the same. We all have distinct needs, perceptions, personalities, and life histories. Some seniors see aging itself as a spiritual journey, whereas others turn to spiritual development as a way to find more richness, meaning, inner strength, or comfort in their lives as they reflect on the past and think about what’s still to come.
Many factors can affect a senior’s desire to explore more of his or her spirituality. For example, a senior or elderly American may be drawn closer to spirituality or religious faith because of factors like:
- Retirement—This stage of life often comes with big changes to our daily activities, the roles we play, and the way we see ourselves. Although it is often an exciting and fulfilling time, it can also feel unfamiliar. That’s particularly true for people who retire from full-time careers or who no longer spend the bulk of their time raising or supporting a family.
- Grieving—As we get older, more of our friends and family members are likely to pass away. As a result, we may go through the grieving process more frequently than when we were younger. Faith or spirituality can provide us with extra stability as we cope with the loss of our loved ones and reflect on what they’ve meant to us.
- Decreased independence—Another reason why aging and spirituality are so closely linked is that many of us experience some physical decline during our later years. We may need assistance with certain aspects of everyday living, which can make us feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. We may even wonder who we’ve become if the way we perceive ourselves doesn’t match reality. Spirituality can help us bridge that gap.
- Increased time to reflect—One of the gifts of getting older is that we often have more time each day to ponder the mysteries of life and reflect on everything we’ve done so far. We get to review our achievements as well as our setbacks while beginning to recognize a meaningful narrative that ties it all together. We may even start to see deeper connections between our life and the lives of people from past or future generations. In fact, one major aspect of the spirituality of aging is that, upon extra reflection, our perspective may shift in surprisingly profound and positive ways.
- A growing awareness of one’s own mortality—Many of us fear passing away. We don’t know what the experience will be like or whether our spirit (or soul) will continue to live on. Will our consciousness remain intact? What will happen to the loved ones we leave behind? Have we created a meaningful legacy that will live on? What will we be remembered for? Spirituality or religious faith can help us make peace with our mortality.
As part of their experiences with aging and spirituality, seniors may adopt new habits or ways of living. For example, many spiritually inclined seniors:
- Place more focus on their inner lives than on external expectations
- Speak from their hearts more frequently
- Put more effort into making meaningful connections with other people
- Develop more patience and attentiveness
- Seek more opportunities for silence and solitude
- Change their perception of time by living more in the moment
- Allow more time for reflection, sharing, and loving
How Popular Is Religion Among American Seniors?
Based on a nationwide survey from 2014 by the Pew Research Center, religion is very popular among older adults. In fact, 85 percent of Americans above the age of 65 rated religion as either very or somewhat important—the highest percentage of all age groups. In addition, among people who were 65 or older:1
- 74 percent said they believe in heaven
- 70 percent said they believe in God with absolute certainty
- 65 percent said they pray at least once a day
- 56 percent said they believe in hell
- 48 percent said they attend religious services at least weekly
- 40 percent said they use religion as their main source of moral guidance
So, what are the most popular religions? When it comes to American adults above the age of 65, Christian religions are the most widely practiced. About 83 percent of people in this age group described themselves as Christians. More specifically:1
- 29 percent said they were Evangelical Protestant
- 24 percent said they were Catholic
- 22 percent said they were Mainline Protestant
People in other Christian religions, such as historically black Protestants and Mormons, represented much smaller percentages (six percent and one percent, respectively). About five percent of seniors over age 65 identified with non-Christian faiths such as:1
- Judaism—3 percent
- Buddhism—1 percent
- Islam—less than 1 percent
- Hinduism—less than 1 percent
The remaining 12 percent of older adults in this age group had no religious affiliations. In fact, two percent of them described themselves as atheists, and another two percent of them said they were agnostic.1
Now for the deeper thought…….God can take a positive person and through His wisdom, use that same person for His mission and not theirs. Sometimes, the inspirational message can be used as a spiritual tool. My thought….we can be both by living the word of God. We can inspire people to be the best they can be and while they are making the changes I felt led to make in my life, they are becoming more spiritual. There can be a big difference between inspirational and spiritual; there can sometimes be no difference. When God plants a seed, all we have to do is water it for it to grow. I am inspired by so many others who are traveling down life’s path and share their thoughts and experiences with me and others. Whatever we are; we are that by the grace of God. Allow Him to use us for his Good. Without Him, we struggle and are not the extra-ordinary people He knows we can be.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
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