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Intersection of Life and Faith

The rest of your life is waiting for you

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2001 31 Jul
The rest of your life is waiting for you
You've spent several decades working hard to build a career and raise a family. Now, at midlife, you're ready to escape the intense pressures of your younger years, but don't want to retire if it means just lounging around a golf course in Florida.
You yearn to make some changes in your life, but still contribute to others and derive great meaning from your activities. But how do you make the transition from your hard-charging current life into a future life imbued with purpose and significance?
Here are some ways you can move toward the rest of your life that God has waiting for you:

  • Take time to reflect on your values, and honestly consider what new choices you would need to make to more closely align your lifestyle with your values. Ask God to reveal ways He would like you to change, and be open to doing so.
  • Don't focus on simply freeing up more time to pursue leisure. Studies have shown that people are most fulfilled when engaged in meaningful work. Consider what talents and skills you have, and how you might use them more fully in a way that's different from your current work. Establish goals to start drawing more upon your unique strengths. Ask yourself what you'd like to be remembered for, and keep that in mind as you set your new goals. Write down a personal mission statement.
  • Explore your options for a "parallel career," in which you work a bit in another capacity before leaving your current career. Your parallel career should be less stressful than your current career, but every bit as meaningful -- or even much more meaningful. If you find that you're not suited to the new career, you have the satisfaction of knowing you tried it and can move on to something else. If the new career seems to be a good match, however, pray for God's timing to leave your current career behind so you can fully invest in your new one. Don't just dabble in it; make a significant commitment so that you can make a significant, positive impact with your work.
  • Don't measure your self-worth by worldly standards, such as how much money or prestige you have. Base your sense of worth on God's deep, unconditional love for you as His child. Remember that God will love you even without that corner office or hefty paycheck, and others who are genuinely your friends will, too.
  • Rather than deriving your thrills from meeting intense deadlines or acquiring as much as possible, consider how exciting it will be to discover new adventures God has for you in your next season of life.
  • Ask God to replace your fears about the future with courage. Trust Him, and be willing to take risks you sense Him calling you to take. Often, God expects you to take a step of faith before He will shed new light on your path. But He will always walk with you.
  • Realize that you likely have many potentially rewarding years ahead of you, and approach them with that mindset rather than nostalgia for the past.
  • Simplify your life. Get rid of unnecessary stuff that clutters your house and unnecessary activities that clutter your schedule. You'll relish the freedom you can gain once you eliminate them.
  • Study how God is at work around you, and ask Him how He would like you to be a part of what He's doing. Consider joining an organization that is already working toward goals that align with yours, so you can magnify your service.
  • Develop a team of people committed to supporting and encouraging you in your new efforts.
  • Balance your schedule so that you have some days to focus on achieving your new goals and others set aside for God to renew your strength.

Adapted from Stuck in Halftime: Reinvesting Your One and Only Life, copyright 2001 by Bob Buford. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich.,, 1-800-9-BOOK-IT.

Bob Buford is the founder of Leadership Network - a support ministry for pastors and church leaders - and chairman of the Buford Foundation. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Linda.