3 Tips for Finding Retirement Purpose

Retirement is an exciting time. Most of us spend a big part of our life looking forward to and preparing for it. Yet, with retirement, comes change and possibly some apprehension. We may ask ourselves, “How will I spend my time and fill my days? Will I miss working? Will I still feel valued?”

To enjoy your retirement to the fullest, you must live in your purpose just the way you thrived in your pre-retirement years.

You must find the thing that motivates you to get out of bed, you enjoy doing even though it challenges you at times and when you are done with it for the day, you feel a sense of fulfillment.

Your purpose will be different from my purpose or your neighbor’s purpose and, as long as it’s not immoral or illegal, there is no right or wrong one.

Your purpose is not necessarily something you do to get paid for (although you might), but you do it because it brings you fulfillment and joy. It’s something that you love so much you constantly strive to get better at doing. The challenge of the goal keeps it interesting.

Some examples of purpose

My husband loves weight lifting. He gets up every morning eager to get to the gym for two or more hours. He enjoys the health benefits he gets from constantly working to make his body stronger and the challenge of setting and reaching goals while inspiring other older people to do the same. Once he’s put in the time at the gym, he’s content to do whatever else is on the agenda for the day. I enjoy working out, too, but lifting very heavy weights for hours on end would bore me to tears and wear me out.

I have a friend who loves growing flowers. I love beautiful flowers as well, but I’d never be happy spending hours working in the dirt every day the way she does. Ironically, even though I grew up on a farm, I’ve never liked getting dirt under my fingernails. The few potted plants I have on my deck and porch are enough for me.

a female's hands in a pot of dirt planting a green plant
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I have other friends who love to paint. I admire their work tremendously and love beautiful art, however, I have zero talent for painting and drawing so definitely that is not my calling.

I don’t paint, pump iron, or garden, but I love putting my thoughts on paper and sending them out into the world. If I make money at it, that’s great, but I don’t write to make money. My reward is helping someone in the world benefit from something I share with them. That gives me fulfillment and satisfaction. That is my retirement purpose.

Your purpose is a gift and calling that God has placed inside you.

He intends for you to develop, expand and grow it throughout your life. Of course, we can have more than one purpose. My husband’s sole purpose is not to just work out each day. He enjoys traveling, spending time with the grandkids, studying the Bible, and listening to sermons and travel vlogs. He works on the yard, and car, and helps with the laundry, and other housework, but working out at the gym is the one thing he must do each day or he’s not happy.

In addition to writing, I have a list every day of things I also enjoy doing. It’s no big deal if I don’t get to do any of these activities on a particular day, but if I don’t get to write, I feel that I’ve missed an important part of what I’m supposed to do.

Your purpose may be a continuation of your previous job in a different form or a gift hidden deep inside that only starts to bloom during this stage of life. God’s purpose for you in retirement could be entirely different from the purpose he had for you in your working life.

If you’ve yet to find your purpose in retirement, below are some tips to help you pinpoint it.

It’s something you enjoy

God in his infinite mercy, never calls us to do something without giving us the desire for it as well.

The Bible tells us that God gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight in him. (Psalm 37:4) I believe this can be taken two-fold. Not only does he give us what we desire, but he also puts certain desires inside us according to the plan he has for our life.

It gives you peace and contentment

When we are working on our purpose, there is a sense of satisfaction, and contentment that comes to us. It’s an inner peace that permeates our being. This is not to say that there won’t be challenges, but you’ll love overcoming those challenges when you are working on your purpose.

It comes natural to you

If you are good at writing melodies, for example, it seems so natural to you that you think everyone can do it. But they can’t. I personally don’t understand how artists come up with all those different melodies. It’s a gift that I don’t possess.

Anything that seems natural to you and others compliment you on is a gift and a part of your calling. Don’t take it for granted. Thank God for it, and develop it. It’s probably your purpose.

God has already given you the gift for your purpose. Start developing it now to fill your days with enjoyment and your life with fulfillment.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

Romans 12:6a NIV


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