For the first time in my life, I approached this autumn with no commitments – one of the joys and challenges of retirement. I know for most of you there aren’t enough hours in the day and believe me I do remember back to the years when I could only have time to myself by taking a bath! But that’s not where I am now. I started thinking about how I would spend my time.
What did I want to do?
How structured did I want to be?
Are there things I have to do?
Are there things I ought to do?
To help me I opened a spreadsheet and put the days of the week across the top and the hours of the day down the side. I started putting in the hours I sleep, eat and some time to exercise – after all if my body is to be a temple I’d better look after it.
Next came my responsibilities. Usually that is some combination of work, study and/or family – either partner or children or parents. For me it was walking the dog. It took me by surprise that when I added an hour and a bit each day, it was the equivalent of a day a week. Wow I had no idea that Fred uses so much of my time.
And then after that I can choose
Will I watch “The Great British Bake Off” all day?…………..Probably not
Will I start playing golf?………………………………………………Never was any good at sport
How about bridge?…………………………………………………….It would exercise my mind but …
I need a purpose. What is it that makes me feel satisfied – that it is worth making an effort for? What is it that I can do that will make me feel I am living well for Jesus? How many little boxes on my spreadsheet should it fill?
But of course life’s not so simple. Let’s go back to walking the dog
It fulfils my responsibility to give Fred exercise
It exercises my body as I clamber up and down Killiney Hill
It clears my mind as I think while I walk
It cheers me up as the walking sends serotonin around my body
It lifts my soul as I look at the beauty around me and chat with God
Occasionally it’s social as I walk with a friend
Most days it’s my mission field as I try to make sure everyone I meet goes home with a smile and a brief word. I very much doubt that I will bring anyone to Jesus in this mission field but I might just help someone to take one small step on the journey of hope. After all I might be the only person they will speak to in the day.
So time to scrunch up the spreadsheet and just get on with living. In many ways it doesn’t matter what I do as God will be there before me and I can join Him in His mission through it.
“Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Col 3:17)