This morning I met with 2 friends for our regular 6 a.m. Wednesday morning coffee and Bible Study at Tim Horton's. We've been looking at the life of David for quite a while. Today we got to the death of King Saul and his sons.
Saul did not finish well. He had drifted a long way away from God. He lost everything. Only a small group of all the people he had led as king took action to honour him. He did not leave a desirable legacy!
We tried to answer the question, "How do we end/finish well?" That's a tough question to answer. It raises more questions including the question of whether we have mentors or examples that we can learn from.
What does finishing well mean? For me, it as being right with God, my wife, my kids, my extended family, my friends and my community. It is also about making a positive difference in other people's lives. I know what I have to do to be right with God and I also know I have to work much harder and conscienciously at it. That holds true for the rest of my list. I used to know what to do to make a difference in people's lives while I was working - I had great opportunities to do that in my job..But what do I do now that I've retired? What is my role? How can I be a positive, encouraging, and life-changing influence on others? Who are these others?
I don't know how to answer those questions. The scary part is knowing that I'll have to make changes in my life to be able to answer those questions. I'll have to make commitments and follow through on them regardless of the fact that this comes with stressors. I have not handled stress well, especially in these last 4 - 5 years. In fact, lately I really haven't been able to handle stress at all!
God, I'm going to need some help here.
So I ask myself, "Is there, or has there been someone in my life to whom I can look as an example of finishing well?" I've read about people who have finished well. At the moment I'm unable to come up with people I knew intimately that have finished well. I know of people that have finished well, but I don't know much of their story. I know people who are in the process of finishing well. Unfortunately, I know more people that aren't finishing very well. Perhaps these are the "others" that I'm to reach out to?
Change requires action. So what am I going to do?
Later this morning I accompanied my wife to a pre-op appointment with a surgeon. The long term outcome of this surgery is only going to be successful if she makes significant lifestyle changes. To do this, she needs my support. In order to support her I'm going to have to make the same lifestyle changes. And... we have to discipline ourselves to stick to these changes and not fall back into old and comfortable habits.
Crap!!! More changes.
Maybe we can wait until the surgery before we make the changes???
I'm highly skilled at procrastination. I suppose I have to change that too.
There's that "c" word again! How many more changes are required of me? Where do I start? Maybe I'll start by making a list. Then I'll discuss the list with my wife. Next I'll draft an action plan. We'll have to review the plan of course, and most likely have to do some editing until we both agree on the plan. Then all we have to do is decide when we want to start, what we'll need to get started. Once we've got that all nailed down we should be ready for action. At some point we'll have to stop procrastinating and actually do something. There's that procrastination thing again. I need to change that.
I know, I'll start with exercise. I'm off to ride my bicycle. It's warm and sunny outside, although it is a little windy for cycling. Hmmmm. Oops, there's that procrastination thing again. Or is it avoidance?
I better stop. Where's my bike? I'm out of here.