One of the many rewards of retirement is the fact that you might have more time to do the things you enjoy instead of spending much of your day attending to work or other family members' needs. If you choose to adventure into a new chapter of life within an assisted living community such as Bethesda Gardens in Monument, Colorado, or another of our faith-based communities, you may even find that you are free from the tedium of housekeeping and maintenance.
That freedom can certainly be exciting.
But for some seniors, it can also be stressful. You might find you're bored and long for a schedule that keeps you busy. Or you may find yourself with more to do now that you're retired and left struggling with how to manage your schedule appropriately. Many people might find themselves somewhere between those two scenarios, or discover that they vacillate between these extremes depending on the season.
Whether you're looking to add something to your retirement schedule or want to get a busy schedule under control, here are some tips for stewarding your time as a senior of faith.
Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Often, we take this verse to mean we shouldn't fear what is coming because God is with us, holding us up and promising us a good ending to the story regardless of what chapter we might be in right now.
But this verse also reminds us that it's God who upholds us, not our selves. When we rely on our own power — our own minds, hearts, and organizational skills — to control our schedule, things can get out of hand. We may find ourselves burdened with obligations that wear us out and leave us with little joy. On the other hand, we might find that we're lingering in tedium without something to look forward to each day.
By remembering that we can't control everything — but that God is in control — we can take some of that burden of schedule management off our shoulders and begin to use our energy toward appreciating and enjoying what does happen each day.
James 4:13-17 reminds people of faith that they should not boast in their own plans. It doesn't mean we shouldn't make plans. After all, sitting inside your assisted living apartment and waiting for good things to come to you isn't Biblical either. James notes that when we make plans, we should say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."
That faith allows you to be open to God's leadership in your life. Perhaps you plan to stay in and enjoy your favorite book or movie tomorrow. If the Lord wills, you can say to yourself, you will do that. But acknowledging that God might have a different plan leaves you open to heeding his call each day.
Perhaps you get up the next day and feel led to participate in an activity you didn't plan on. Through that activity, you might meet a new friend at the assisted living community. Or, you might see an old friend and be comforted by them or comfort them in an hour of need.
If you're so busy that you don't have time to heed God's will, then you may not have the opportunity for these small miracles in your life. In her book Divine Time Management, productivity expert Elizabeth Grace Saunders providers some guidance for managing your schedule in accordance with God's will. Follow the steps below to declutter your schedule if you feel that it's too full or that you are overburdened with random things to do.
Saunders notes that you may not get an immediate answer and that you should be aware of your own peace with each decision. If you feel great joy and peace after giving up something, maybe that item shouldn't have been on your schedule to begin with.
Know that the assisted living community staff — and the many amenities and activities — aren't going away. You have plenty of time to figure out what you want on your schedule, so test different options as you listen for God's guidance.