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CURRENT ISSUE: aug-sep 2008

Shaping the Nation: Politics and the Family








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Grandfather and me

planning for a fruitful retirement

By Norma J. Goldman



To learn more about The Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement and Insurance, visit



No doubt you’ve given most of your thought and attention to the “big” questions of retirement like, “Will I have enough money? Should we downsize or continue living in our present home? Is our budget adequate to fit our income?” Being ‘fruitful’ in retirement may well be at the bottom of your planning list! While there is no magic formula to guarantee a fruitful retirement, you can take some simple steps toward that goal.

Take a spiritual inventory. As a believer committed to a Christ-honoring lifestyle, are you enjoying your time in God’s word, in worship, and with God’s family as never before? Are you engaged in ministries that give you joy, bless others, and express your skills, passions and spiritual gifts? The secret is to commit time for spiritual disciplines—make them your first priority.

Most retirees stay so busy they wonder how they ever found time to work! Retirement offers fresh opportunities to experience the abundant life Jesus promised. If you couldn’t answer these questions with a resounding “yes,” ask God to show you how to live in light of “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”




Take a relationships inventory. The Ten Commandments give us real insight into the importance of relationships, and they illustrate how important it is to be positively related to others. Living peaceably and in respectful harmony with others produces both physical and mental wellbeing, reflecting a witness that backs up verbal testimonies. Don’t waste energy harboring grudges, past disappointments, or unkind words that may have wounded you. Instead, begin each day with an awareness of God’s incredible power to heal, restore, and forgive and then live out those same characteristics so that you become more and more like Him! Your work won’t take care of you when you are sick, but your friends will. Stay in touch.

Take inventory of your physical condition. It’s a real temptation to become a couch potato in retirement. Some of God’s choicest servants did their best work well into their 80s and beyond! Choose some form of physical activity—walking with your spouse or a friend, exercising at the YMCA, or playing any sport that will keep you flexible and mobile. Adjust your eating to adapt to your slowing metabolism and lifestyle. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.”

Choose someone to be an accountability partner (not someone who will be too easy on you) and make a commitment to regularly evaluate exercise and eating habits. My accountability buddy is on vacation, but she called today to learn if I made it to the gym.

Take inventory of your surroundings. Get clutter out of your home, your car, your desk. Don’t be a pack rat! Keep only what you need and what you are using. Someone else can benefit from your excess. Resolve to sell or give away seldom used clothing, furniture or household goods, working on one room at a time until you’ve completed the job. As I write, I am convicted that my own garage is an eyesore! Psychologists tell us that clutter in our surroundings creeps into our minds, distracting us from personal peace and productivity.

Take an inventory of your mental attitude. How would your spouse or close friends describe your outlook on life? Exhibit an attitude of gratitude, one that refuses to dwell on past mistakes, looks forward to the future, and proclaims to the world that you’ve chosen to be happy and productive.

These areas—mind, body, spirit, relationships—are where we live. They are reliable indicators of what’s really going on inside. Think of these steps as “pruning the vine” to allow a greater harvest for the Kingdom of God.


About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a freelance writing career in her retirement. She lives in Nashville, TN.

©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists