“Not only is every call unique, but the hearing of every call is unique also. One sign that God may be calling is a certain restlessness, a certain dissatisfaction with things as they are. Other signs of God’s call may be a sense of longing, yearning, or wondering; a feeling of being at a crossroads; a sense that something is happening in one’s life, that one is wrestling with an issue or decision; a sense of being in a time of transition; or a series of circumstances that draw one into a specific issue.” – Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community (Farnham SG, Gill JP, McLean RT and Ward SM, 2011, pg 10).
As I get closer to retirement, I am experiencing that restlessness that comes with knowing that one chapter is about to close and another about to begin. I would like to be able to confidently shut a door behind me, knowing that there is another door waiting to be opened that shines a bright light through me to others.
As a member of the Episcopal faith, I’ve been involved in Discernment Committees for clergy, vocational deacons and international missionaries, but I wonder if there isn’t a need for a similar process for lay people, particularly those who are heading toward retirement.
A Discernment Committee who would listen intently to hopes and desires, but also help to assess where we are truly called to serve as we transition from a life consumed with work and raising children. It is far too easy to let “time fill-up” with random activities when we are grasping at something to make us feel important or to fill up the social void that retirement often brings.
I have friends that are living life to the fullest as retirees, and others who are just getting by with worries and anxieties that lead to a deep depression. I wonder if one of the differences between the two extremes is whether we’ve discerned our new calling for retirement, or if we have just given up our work status and slid into a new life, hoping that something will present itself that makes us feel fulfilled.
“Yet God not only calls but empowers-although the power may come only as we respond. Conversely, if we don’t respond to God’s call, we may cut ourselves off from the Lord’s strength and become increasingly blind and deaf to God’s promptings. To ignore or resist a call may ‘fracture us further, widening the split between what we subscribe to inwardly and what we do outwardly.’” (Listening Hearts- pg 13-14).
I want to feel God’s power in my retirement, just like the apostles did when they were sent out two by two (Mark 6:7).
Blessings, my friend,