But I Am Comfortable and My Friends Are Doing It!

I thought peer pressure would go away after high school, but it still seems to linger in adult life, even into retirement.  When it comes to the topic of retirement, the peer pressure goes on a full court press, to use a basketball term.

You’ve seen the choices of greeting cards for retirement:  the landscape usually includes a glass of iced tea and either the beach, mountains, or golf course on the horizon.  The assumption is that retirees are comfortable financially and mentally, have their health, have many friends and EVERYBODY is doing it.  I remember mom asking:

“Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. I mean really, if all your friends were jumping off a bridge, does that mean you have to jump off the bridge too?” 

Truth be known, my friends and I did jump off bridges and cliffs into rivers and lakes of Minnesota.  But the point is all the same.  Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right.

Romans 12:2 is counter cultural and revolutionary.  In the NLT version:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you, into a new person, by changing the way you think, then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect" 

If you and I are busy blanketing ourselves with the ideas of the world, we will miss what God has for us.  He has a better way.  Isaiah said it best in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) 8

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

So what does it specifically look like to reject the worlds example of retirement and embrace the Lord’s plan for your life?  For each of us it will look different because we are surrounded by different people and have different skills sets.  

If you are a Christ Follower, here is a list of things your retirement years won’t look like:

  • Being disconnected from your local body of Christ

  • Being on vacation every day with no cares in the world

  • Playing all the time

  • Watching TV all day long

  • Reading books all the time

While we may be able to do some of these things some of the time, we are called to a much higher level of societal involvement as Christ Followers. When we “retire” we have more time to be intentional with our days.  Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you look for God’s plan in the second phase of your life:

  • What do I love to do?

  • Who are the people in my life that I can serve?

  • With the skills that I have, who should I invest my time in?

  • With my unique position in my local community, how can I serve my community with the example of Christ's love?

  • While on my vacations/golf outings/dinner gatherings how can I be intentional in interjecting my faith in Jesus into the conversations?

  • How can I encourage my kids and their peers in their faith?

  • How can I encourage my grandkids and their peers in their faith?

  • How can I use the wisdom that God has given me to feed into the life of another selflessly.

You have so much to give when retirement comes. Let’s reverse the peer pressure and bring your friends with YOU. Ask the Lord to prepare you for this next phase of life right now.  Get out of the grandstands of life and get back into the game.

Next Week:  What mentoring the next generation looks like – a few examples.

About the Author, Jim Brangenberg

Jim's Mission: To transform Christian-run businesses through mentoring Christian Business Owners (CBOs) by incorporating the servant leadership of Jesus Christ in their businesses, their home life and their walk with Christ.

Jim Brangenberg