I had a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) this morning after reviewing the results of a beta test I participated in last night: an assessment-in-development to help people discover their personal design in three unique areas.
I love the insight we can gain about ourselves through such self-assessments. Using similar but secular tools made up the bulk of my corporate training career, so I wasn’t surprised as my excitement and energy level rose just by digging into familiar territory again.
What did surprise me was the nudge to do something about it.
It’s not the first time that nudge has hit me since I retired more than ten years ago. But the results of yesterday’s assessment confirmed that I’ve still got something to give—and maybe an obligation to give it. Because as I reviewed the resulting 20 page report, I remembered the sweet spot that exists when I go where my gifts and passions lead me.
So how could I help but but ask myself the question that I keep thinking I’d set aside with retirement:
Am I using all that God has given me to my fullest potential?
As I said to a friend last night in my typical bossy manner, our decisions aren’t—or shouldn’t be—about doing what we want to do solely for our own benefit. As Christians, we’re supposed to be focused on what our Creator wants for us and from us.
So I was not at all surprised when I opened my Bible to the passage that arrived in one of my daily devotionals:
Psalm 81:8; 11-12: “Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me! . . . . But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.”
It’s hard to hear God’s voice when my own gets in the way.
I don’t believe that persistent nudges are coincidences. I think it’s often God trying to tell us something that just maybe we don’t want to hear.
But He won’t force us. He gave us “free will,” after all. Yet I know what happened to the Israelites, just as I’ve become aware of many of the blessings I’ve missed by going my way instead of His.
Lord, are You messing with my plan? Summers in the blessed solitude of northern Minnesota; winters in the warm sunshine of an activity-laden community in Florida. It was our retirement dream that blew apart with our divorce, but one that looks as if it’s back in the realm of possibilities now, ten years later. But I wonder: Is that my plan or Yours?
I remember, though, something You taught me after I returned from my first trip to Haiti. I was trying to figure out if serving You in that country–where I discovered a sweet spot like none before it–might be where You wanted me for this retirement phase of life. As I prayed, I was struck by what I still believe came straight from Your heart to mine–that it doesn’t matter where I am, only that I’m fulfilling Your purpose for me wherever that might be.
Father, I’m just going to thank You for today’s nudge reminding me that You never intended retirement to be a time for kicking back and doing nothing. Please direct me to whatever You have planned next for me in this life. Give me wisdom to discern and obey Your nudges, always choosing Your will over mine. Amen.