Some Of You Have Been Given A Unique Gift Of Time. Take Advantage Of It.

A Brief Reflection on The Spiritual Benefit of Having An Empty Nest & Being Retired

Nancy tearfully watches Johnny, her last child, head off to college. She will no longer be responsible to scramble his eggs or wash his favorite jeans or help him clean “the disaster” called his bedroom. She won’t be devoting almost every weekend watching him play soccer. What will she do with a free hour or two a day and less hectic weekends? Will she fill them with more activity? Or will she do what she’s always wanted  – to begin to experience a daily routine filled with meaningful times with God and thoughtful moments with others – what Eugene Peterson paraphrased, “the unforced rhythms of grace?” 

As Tom anticipates retirement next month, he looks forward to leisurely days to fish, golf, hunt, and travel. That’s it. It’s too bad that he never thinks about having more time to connect with God somehow. If he’s going to have more time for himself, why not consider giving himself more time to be with God? Why can’t God be a significant part of his retirement plans? 

This post is primarily for empty nesters and/or retired persons who find themselves with more freedom to manage their own time. How are you experiencing this gift of time at this point in your life? Are you cramming it full of activity because the end is near and you need to leave a legacy? Or are you preparing your life for eternity, learning to live as if you’re already there? 

All Christians have the opportunity to intentionally pursue God with their whole heart. Yet those with no children at home and those without a “9-to-5” are given the gift of time unique to their season of life.   

There are spiritual advantages to being in these seasons of life:

  • You have more time to give to communing with God.                                                                      
  • You have more control over your priorities.
  • You can focus your efforts on the issues that matter for eternity.

You can more fully give yourself to knowing God, to caring for your soul, and to intentionally living into and out of your relationship with God.  

Compared to being under the time constraints of your children’s schedules or the demands of your employer, you can navigate your spiritual life differently.

Do you have room in your life for more time to be with God? Take advantage of it. You’ve been given the gift of this season of life. Accept it. Use it to your spiritual advantage. 

Don’t be like many empty nesters who make their new life about themselves. Make your new life about God.

Don’t be like many retired people who waste their remaining days on this earth on temporal things instead of preparing their hearts for eternity. 

It seems to me, those in these situations have fewer excuses to not give more time to prayer, communion with God, stillness and solitude.  

Tell me in the comment section where I’m off base. I have a limited perspective, so I may be missing something. 

God has given you the gift of this day. How are you using it to better know God and care for your soul? 

Dr. K

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “Some Of You Have Been Given A Unique Gift Of Time. Take Advantage Of It.

  1. I think you are spot-on and appreciated this today! I am not yet an empty nester, but I grieved and mourned all of last year over my first graduating and leaving home and my sixth child being my last baby, as well as getting ready to wean after almost nineteen straight years of nursing! I have just really, really loved this life, even though I have quite a bit more to enjoy before I’m an empty nester. I am doing very well now, but for some reason I had that season where I just couldn’t deal with the idea of such change, people thought I was NuTs, and there wasn’t much support for it.

    Now I’m looking forward to living Titus 2:3-5 from the other side, dreaming with my husband, and yes, definitely knowing that I will have more time to devote to God and His work in whatever way I am called.

    • Hi Sandi. It sounds like you have journeyed with God in your various family/parenting situations. He will also journey with you as you see the little ones fly from the nest. He is with you at all times. The challenge is to be with Him. Take advantage of what time you have now and look forward to what those times might look like in the future. Thanks for engaging The UnCommon Journey. Dr. K

  2. Incredible and encouraging advice. As you know I “retired” and then came down with a terminal illness. Never sick before! So your counsel to spend more time with God is important; but I wonder if most Christians – other than reading the Bible – know how to do that (spend more of your time with God). Maybe a post on that would also be a useful follow/up.

    • Hi Kevin. Always encouraging to hear from you. I hope people who read The UnCommon Journey regularly will be better informed how they might spend time with God. The Journey to Stillness ebook is very helpful. Yet, I know many have subscribed after those posts. I’ll keep at it. Thanks for encouraging me forward. You are in my daily prayers, too, brother. I miss you. Blessings, Keith

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