4 Steps to Rediscover Your 'Why' in Retirement

4 Steps to Rediscover Your 'Why' in Retirement

Retirement may have launched with cake and party hats but now you’re asking, what’s next?

For nearly a lifetime, your purpose snuggled up in a patchwork quilt defined by school, family, or work. Now everything has changed...and you kind of miss the 9-5. 

You may battle health issues and other challenges (James 1:2). The pandemic has forced us all in a tailspin with lockdowns, quarantines, mask mandates, and other temporary inconveniences that will end.

But there is no turning back from retirement. This phase is permanent. You need fresh motivation to wriggle out of bed each morning.

Here are four steps to rediscover your "why.”

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senior woman hiking in European town in retirement

1. Stand Firm and Embrace a New Beginning

When one door closes, another opens. But any venture into the unknown can leave us feeling anxious and disoriented. If we’ve put our entire being into our work, then we’ve not only lost a job, but we’ve lost ourselves.

It’s crucial now, more than ever, to start this new season on sure footing and stand firm in God (1 Corinthians 15:8).

With our identity in Christ, our purpose will come from within. And whatever comes from within follows us wherever we go, no matter what the season. We won’t try to be like Christ, but his identity will live in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

After retirement strips you of titles and career accolades, who are you?

Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3

Moving forward requires knowing who you are. In Christ, we exhibit characteristics that make our destiny clear. Walking with Jesus, we become more spiritually aligned. Our desire shifts to less of ourselves, to more of God, and his holy plan for our life.

God’s divine plan masterfully unfolds as we tiptoe out of denial into an agreement that we are now traveling on a one-way road. There are no U-turns. Laser focus is required. No one can make you happy during this transition but you. Permit yourself to claim contentment. God is doing a brand-new thing. Rejoice in this season. Seek his wisdom. 

Where do you want to go? The Lord will show you how.

The Bible instructs us to present our requests to God and pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7).

Get excited about the journey ahead and let God lead (Psalm 3:5-6).

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senior man teaching younger man carpentry mentor in retirement

2. Discover Your Gifts and Give Them Away

You’ve gained many experiences. Perhaps you have a love-hate affair with a few. There’s no reason you can’t learn something positive from your past encounters. One clue to single out your gifts is to identify effortless activities that gave you the most pleasure.

Steve Harvey said that our gift would be “the thing you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort.” You were born to use your gift. If you haven’t been using it, now is the time.

We can gain gratification from being part of something bigger than ourselves. Use your gift to help someone. What causes matter to you? You may find meaning and purpose in volunteer work.

There’s a power behind working for free. If you’re willing to work with no monetary reward other than sheer delight, you hold the key to unveiling your inner passion. If what you do comes with little effort, you’ve found your gift. Marry the two, and you’ll be unstoppable. What God starts, God finishes.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

You may discover a bucket list of things you still want to learn. Take a leap and try new things. Taking chances may lead to discovering things you didn’t know you loved doing.  As you build new relationships, you’ll be exposed to diverse influences and may uncover a few new passions. You may find hidden treasures and buried gifts. Learn to be a good giver. Your recipients are waiting.

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senior man teaching young boy how to play guitar in retirement

3. Dig Deep to Find Core Values and Align Them with God’s Mission

There are many traditional roads to find happiness during retirement. No route is best for each person. Stay in your lane and do what’s right for you. If you’re in Christ, your values will align with the Word. You’ll have the best chance of success by making your decisions based on your core values. What matters to you? How do you honor God with your life?

Everyone has a unique set of values, but finding your core will bring clarity to your life. What you believe guides how you think. Staying in alignment will keep you on the right path. Much dissatisfaction stems from living outside of our core values.

When we aren’t loyal to ourselves, it shows up in our actions and our demeanor.

Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. – Philippians 1:27

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senior woman creating art in retirement

4. Keep Busy Doing the Best Things

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Are you busy or fruitful? You can do a lot of things to stay active during your retirement years, but work doesn’t mean you’ve found your “why.”

You could spin your wheels splattering so much mud that you’ve all but buried your core values and bear no fruit. Life is too short for that. Each action we spend our energy on will take time away from something else. Sometimes we must give up good things for better things.

In the book, Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung, he defines “crazy busy” as trying to please and control others. We should not feel guilty when we aren’t capable of helping everyone. It’s just impossible. God hasn’t called us to help everybody, but we’re called to serve someone. The world needs the exact talents we have. 

A too-full calendar can steal our joy, rob our hearts, and damage our souls. Unless we’re busy doing what God has ordained as our purpose, we’re wasting our time.

Oswald Chambers said, “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose he has given them.”

Use your retirement to find your “why” in Him. Allow God to use your commitment and abilities, and the wisdom you have gathered to achieve God’s purpose for you. God reminds us that if he has called us, he will be with us till the end. (Isaiah 46:4)

Recommended for You:

How to Retire Biblically

7 Ways God Can Use Your Retirement to Further His Kingdom

4 Critical Plans You Need to Make Before You Retire

What Jesus Means by ‘I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches’

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headshot of author Diane LeGereDiana LéGere is a Christian writer whose passion is to share her faith and life experience through her words and help other women do the same. She is the author of four books, most recent, Celebrations of Praise: 365 Ways to Fill Each Day with Meaningful Moments and the memoir journal, Ripples: A Memoir of Reflection.You can learn more about Diana and her books by visiting her website at https:www.womenofwordsrva.com.

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