“Freedom!” they shouted as the last child went off to college.
Freedom indeed. Yet, freedom from what and freedom to do what?
Isn’t it amazing, how often we either look forward to certain time in our life or a new and different circumstance just shows up, and we are unprepared for the event, or the change in circumstance?
Maybe you’ve looked forward to this time when the house is quiet and there is no one to talk to or be concerned about other than you, yourself, and your spouse. But maybe the time came faster than you expected. Or maybe the time feels different than you imagined. Now you find yourself thinking “now what?”
Or, as friend mine recently opined, “Dog chases truck. Truck stops. Big Truck. What to do now?”
Becoming “Empty Nesters” is a time of big change.
Sometimes this change comes with feelings of joy and sometimes it comes with feelings of abandonment and loss. Regardless of how it makes us feel, we can still choose to live with meaning and use our “empty nests” as a place for continued ministry. It is a time, once again, to listen to the gentle whispers of God’s call on our life, the next stage of our life, the rest of our life.
Talking to a friend of mine recently who “retired” at 58, with all kids out of the house, he said, “I’m so looking forward to the next 20 years of intentional ministry. Opening myself to discovering the joy that will come as I find the God directed activities that bring meaning.”
My response, ‘Preach it brother!”
Let’s consider these thoughts on Empty Nests:
- Empty nests suggests that they were full at one time. Full nests were times with family, children and relatives. Time for fun and surely times of learning. Time to learn about family, life, growing up and growing older. A time to accumulate wisdom.
- Empty nest suggest a minimum of distractions….an opportunity to practice the disciplines of a spiritual life and to grow beyond what was learned during the “Busier” years.
- Empty nest suggests a new stage of relationship between you and your spouse. A primary focus, the kids, is gone and the two or you have the opportunity to listen to God’s whisper about future ministry.
- Empty nests suggests the availability of time, and hopefully resources, to devote to Future-Funded Ministry
- Empty nests suggests the freedom to serve, and experience Inspired Ministry
So, empty nests provide a unique opportunity to explore, serve and enjoy. Because you have time, you have opportunity. Because you have opportunity, you have choice. And because you have choice, you can bring meaning, relationship, and service to a higher level than ever before.
Embrace the empty nest, prepare for it, and then live it with joy and the gusto that comes from God being with you.
I encourage you to head over to www.futurefundedministry.com and download a free copy of my newest eBook: Live with Meaning: Understanding the Power of Future- Funded Ministry. The book will challenge the way you view retirement and give insight into why it’s important to plan for the years ahead where the paycheck stops but the call to ministry continues.
Discovering our future together,