I’ve Learned That …

It’s been about a month and a half since I retired. I was unsure what it would be like to no longer have scheduled employment as a part of my day. I did receive input from others about their experience and that information was useful. However, that was how it worked out for them and I knew it would not be the same for me.

I was taught early on in recovery the importance of an inventory to keep me aware of how my life is progressing. While this is not a good example of how regularly I take an inventory, it is at least a check-in of those things I have learned about myself in retirement.

I’ve learned that 4:45 am or so is when sleep ends and my day usually begins. I was told by some that once I retired one benefit was I could now sleep in. Well, sleeping-in is only useful if sleeping is involved. Otherwise it is simply lying there.

I’ve learned that “We might use it someday” is a phrase that I can delete from my vocabulary. It’s taken me about three weeks to get rid of almost all of those “useful” items. One upside is there are some really friendly people working at the sanitation self-help center who never once have let that look of “You’re here again” turn into actual words.

I’ve learned that what I believe is always correct. My evidence can be found on the Internet. I can always find at least one source that proves I am right, although I admit it might take anywhere between 10-20 searches to come up with the needed verification. I’m not completely sure about the aliens living in our garage but what I read from that 8-year-old makes me more confident that again I am right.

I’ve learned that there are endless apocalyptical movies to watch as I eat my lunch–and any of these 1-1/2 hour movies can be fast-forwarded down to 45 minutes without losing any of the plot. There is quite a variety and most begin with “Mega” as in Mega Volcano, Mega Storm, Mega Hurricane, Mega Wave,  and Mega Heat. I think I saw one called Mega Pandemic but I am a little uncomfortable to find out how that one ends.

Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that I tend to cover my failings with humor. What I said earlier about my always being correct was flavored with humor. But the truth is I can believe that my understanding is always right and anyone who does not agree with me is completely wrong and in fact, possibly flawed. What other reason would they have for not holding the same beliefs as mine?

That was so difficult to write and now read especially in light of one my favorite sections of the Bible found in Philippians chapter 2. Let each of you look carefully not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Indeed, let this attitude be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Though he was by nature God, he did not consider equality with God as a prize to be displayed,  but he emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant. 

Let’s review:

God: look to the interests of others not just my own. Me: what I believe is most important.

Jesus: He is God who became a servant. Me: If you want me to respect you, believe the same as me because I am right.

Maybe I should reconsider how I view things, but there is more in Philippians: When he was born in human likeness, and his appearance was like that of any other man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. 

More to review:

Jesus: Humbled or emptied himself of his divine place to die by one of the most terrible means invented by man, crucifixion. He did that out of love to pay for my sins. And he did it despite being fully aware my response would be to continue living a life tainted by sin. Me: I cannot afford to allow for any other ideas to be valid because then I would be wrong or my wants and needs would not be fulfilled.

And if my attitude was not disappointing enough in itself, the great majority of what I need to be right about are not things that God has made right or wrong. They are my personal choices or opinions. My attitudes certainly show how important I think I am.

So how can I change all this? If I am to line up my ability to seek the interests of others to respond out of love for what Jesus did for me, I need to be different.  Romans 12:2 gives me the answer: Also, do not continue to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you test and approve what is the will of God—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. 

My thinking needs to change–not by looking for more opinions on the Internet that agree with me; not by listening to my favorite talk show host; and not by discussing this with others who agree with me. Rather I need to renew my mind through searching the Bible to find the answers. I need to spend time each day with God in meditation seeking his guidance.

If I find that God speaks directly on something then I need to follow that as is his will. I will strive to do it in such a way that does not demean others but seeks to show love and concern for them.

When there is no specific direction in the Bible, then I need to carry out God’s will in my actions, accepting that others may have differing opinions which are just as valid as mine. And just maybe, I can try to understand different ideas rather than to simply reject them.

Wow, sounds like a lot of effort for someone who is retired. To be honest, this is a long standing part of who I am. My thinking will only change as God changes my heart, no matter how long this process may take. And the best thing about this–as I come to him asking for his help there is no judgement. He stands with open arms and all I hear is “I’ve been waiting for you, John. Need some help with that?”

Thanks for taking some time to read this. Hope you come back some time to read some more. I will wait you.

I usually share a song having to do with the topic of this blog. I wonder if my insistence on being right all the time relates to a fear that my needs will not be attended to if things are not done my way. What a better assurance than the 23rd Psalm that my Shepherd is taking care of all my needs.


(All passages are taken from the Evangelical Heritage Version, EHV.)

One comment on “I’ve Learned That …

  1. Great blog John. It’s funny that I never see you as the person you say you are. To me your loving and caring but I’ve never heard you say I’m right. I look up to you as a role model of how I should treat people.


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