Week 39 What Does Your Life Say About You?

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 39 Scripture Readings: Proverbs 26-27

Key Scripture Verse: Proverbs 27:19 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

The proverbs in this section are more of the proverbs of Solomon that were written for the king and for those whom he dealt with, but many are pertinent to us all. I was particularly drawn to this one.

As much as I love children and delight in them, I have always had an affinity for those older than me. When I was young, I wanted to be older to do what the older kids could do. When I was in middle school, I wanted to go to high school. And when I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to go to college and so on. During my early adult years, I wanted to date men older than me and felt more appreciated by those a little older than me. Eventually, I aged enough that I was ready to slow down and stay where I was. And as I age, of course, I would like to be younger. So it is—perhaps it is a little of the wanting something that looks greener on the other side of the fence, huh?

But, this is to say that I have always noticed people older than myself and, even professionally, I have worked with a lot of old people.

When I was young, my family went to the beach for vacation every year and my mother liked to stay in the old-fashioned hotels on the beach—the ones that had dining rooms and served their own meals in a family atmosphere. This meant staying in hotels she remembered from her childhood or hotels similar to them. And, guess who frequented those less-modern hotels? Old people. Some families with children were there, so we weren’t entirely out of place, but there were a lot of old people and so I did some people watching and I noticed them.

I remember being at the Halifax Hotel, for any of you who remembers that hotel at Virginia Beach that was on the boardwalk. And I specifically remember observing two old ladies there who looked alike, yet they looked very different to me, too. They were clearly sisters, but one of the sisters had smile lines in her face and the other one looked bitter and sad, with frown lines noticeably wrinkling her face. I remember thinking how their lives had taken different turns. Clearly the one with the smile lines had looked at life from a happy, positive perspective, and perhaps she had been kind and loving. Her sister looked angry, sad, embittered. I suspect her life had been hard, or perhaps she had been a terrible pessimist. Or she had a cruel streak. I remember hoping and wishing that as I aged, as I lived my life, I would remember them—that I would remember to smile, to laugh, to be hopeful, to be pleasant, to be loving, to be kind, and that somehow it would reflect on my face that I had lived that way.

I’m not entirely sure our spirits reflect on our faces that way, but I think they do. I know people I have instantly been drawn to because of the smiles on their faces—and rarely have I been wrong about them once I have gotten to know them.

Our lives reflect our choices, our personal priorities—the good and the bad, the pretty and the not-so-pretty aspects of our character. We have lots of circumstances that we have to deal with in our lives and some of us have more choices than others, but it’s not entirely about how rich or poor we are, or where we grew up, although those things definitely influence us—it’s what we do with the situations we have. It’s how we uniquely respond to our circumstances. It’s about character.

And character is what’s deep inside—it’s the “heart” part—who we are inside at our core. That’s the spiritual part that God sees.

When I look in the mirror and see myself looking back, I hope to see smile lines, lines that mean I have smiled at you, I have laughed with you, enjoyed you, shared with you, given kindness to you.

When Jesus reviews my life with me, I hope I can look back with him and see a reflection of his love there where I loved and gave of myself, where I shared his love with you, where I followed his will and did his work. I hope we will see that as I developed, I grew closer to the character of God himself—that there will be some spiritual maturity there.

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to develop a character reflective of your love. May my life reflect a loving heart. Amen.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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