Several years ago, I finished a large consulting job that had lasted almost four years. It ended three months ahead of schedule and at the time, while I was grateful for the work, I felt that things ended rather abruptly. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I had a plan to move toward retirement and I wasn’t really prepared to step away from finishing the assignment with things left hanging – up in the air, if you will.
Since then, I accepted another assignment, at a different company, and have worked there part time for the past two years or so, moving closer and closer to retirement. Things are slowing down and I find that I am okay with that – it’s like my retirement plane is “coasting” in for a landing but I have somewhat mixed feelings about how I will feel when I “land the plane.” I really like the fact that this ending, unlike the last one, is not abrupt and I have time to consider how Janet’s and my lives will be impacted when I have even more free time than I do now. But I don’t know that I want to fully step away from making some contribution in the corporate and ministry worlds.
Several weeks ago I was invited to an annual luncheon meeting and presentation that took place yesterday. I really enjoyed seeing old friends and being included in the proceedings but I found that I didn’t miss the prospect of working. I guess that I am saying that it is time to move on – and to pray about what God has in store for me in the next season for my life.
I think that I still have a desire to work for myself, or possibly write a book, or even do coaching online or by phone. But I no longer need the jets and hotel rooms and waking up wondering what city I am in. I really want to be on my own timetable.
I have worked since I was a young teenager and now it’s time to kick back a little and enjoy a different season of life. This week, Janet and I volunteered at vacation Bible study and that was terrific. But I still need a little more mental challenge to keep me sharp during the week. Coincidentally, I also have a strong desire to increase my personal devotional time, especially the study of the Bible.
And family time – that’s another thing that I enjoy even more than I used to. In the early days, when the kids were young, I was busy making a name for myself in the corporate world. While I made sure that I attended as many children’s events as I could, the business, and putting food on the table, took up much of my time. That’s a decision that I regret – I didn’t have much life balance in those days. And I have learned that it’s never too late to make amends and change my priorities – that happened years ago but I still discover things about myself, even now.
So time marches on; and so do I. The truth of the matter is that the next part of my life can be the most fulfilling time yet. No distractions about having to earn a livable wage, or being sidetracked attending conferences getting certifications to prove that I am competent to do something. I have the freedom to make whatever I wish of the years to come. And while I devoted the first part of my career to success, I have chosen to spend the rest of my life for significance. Therein lies the difference.
However the rest of my life is lived out, it is critical that I continue to seek the safety of God and depend on Him to guide my steps. Our verse tonight confirms that following God is the best possible plan. We are told in Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” My encouragement tonight is that God expects us to seek His protection and He will not disappoint us. My prayer is that we will all feel safe under the protection of the Father and His Son, Jesus. And that is whether we are on the front end of our careers, or winding down and coasting into retirement. Because God has something important for each of us to accomplish. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…