Finding New Purpose for a New Season
Time has moved forward…yet your heart lingers. It’s bitter sweet as this new season of empty nest approaches or has already begun. Your heart is filled with love, yet also may feel empty if you’re struggling to find purpose as an empty nester. If you’re transitioning from the role of stay-at-home mom to empty nester, you may feel a loss of purpose because the main focus of your time was caring for your family and managing your household.
While my children were still young, I knew that parenting was my primary purpose in life for that season. But I struggled to feel contentment because I was eager to do something of purpose beyond homemaking related to some passions God was growing in my heart for women’s ministry.
I was determined to launch a business and ministry—but my story did not turn out like I expected. My launch had to be grounded. Striving to do too much too soon when it wasn’t yet God’s will or timing had simply caused a tug-of-war inside my heart and within my schedule.
In time, God helped me embrace the truth that who I was (a wife, mom and homemaker), where I was (in the home) and what I was doing (parenting and homemaking) had significance not only in my household during that time, but held purpose in my family’s life and in God’s Kingdom into the future. It was enough…and I was enough…without needing to pursue more.
So my primary purpose became growing more contentment and godliness in my present role to nurture my family. Also planning for more balance between my heart’s desires, family and home responsibilities, I continued to patiently explore some things I could do to engage my passions and reveal more about my future purpose.
By the time my children were a little older, I’d found several parts of myself and my life out of balance and in conflict with how God meant them to be. Some parts of that life season had been so overwhelming physically, mentally and emotionally that I didn’t have the time or energy to focus on some things I wish I could have. I also realized I had not given purposeful thought to some areas I could have paid more attention to. These areas left behind had unknowingly been chipping away at my peace, joy and even my health and wellness.
I knew God had a special purpose for me in the future, but I couldn’t expect to effectively fulfill it effectively, or maybe at all, if the other areas of my life remained so out of order and out of His will in the present. I knew Christian growth and Biblical life planning had to become a priority to align with God’s plan for my life.
Seeking God’s direction in what areas and ways I needed to grow to prepare for His present and future plans for me became my new purpose as I approached the season of empty nest.
How to Seek God to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester
Becoming an empty nester can bring feelings of loneliness, but you are not alone in your journey to find new purpose. God is walking with you every step of the way. You are a precious creation God designed specifically to walk in the purposes He has planned for your life.
First, God has made known His general purposes for you as a believer—to love Him, love His people, transform into Christ’s likeness and share His love with the world. As you go through your daily life, you will encounter opportunities to fulfill these desires of God. While parenting younger children, much of this calling may be fulfilled within your family. Entering the empty nest season expands your opportunities to carry out God’s Kingdom purposes.
Second, God is also preparing you for a specific purpose—your Christian calling or life’s work—to contribute to His Kingdom in a way that is personalized to your design and path as a person. It’s a unique intersection of your personality, values, strengths, spiritual gifts, passions, natural abilities, life experiences and the dreams He has planted in your heart.
God reveals more details of your specific calling over time and you can step out onto this journey as He leads you to. Sometimes God calls us to begin this calling while you are raising your children. For some God leads you to find and fulfill your unique purpose as an empty nester when you have more time, energy and space in your life.
Third, God calls you to take steps to carry out the day to day details of your life according to His will and purposes for them. Following God’s will in every area of life, no matter how small, is pleasing to God, helps you to become more Christlike, and prepares you to be more effective and make more impact as you carry out His other purposes for you. The 5 areas to find purpose that naturally show up almost every day of your life are expanded upon in the next section.
Seeking God’s wisdom is the best way to find purpose as an empty nester that will both fulfill His will and your heart. James 1:5 (NIV) tells us that if we need wisdom, we should “ask God, who gives generously to all”. Whether you have simple questions about your day or complex questions about your life, God is always available and at work within you to reveal His purposes and to help you fulfill them.
Below are some steps you can take to seek godly wisdom to find purpose as an empty nester or in any season and start your journey toward fulfilling His plan for your life:
- Pray for God to reveal wisdom about what He desires you to focus on during this season
- Search God’s word for wisdom and verses to study and meditate on to apply for transformation
- Talk with a trusted friend, mentor or Christian coach to help discern where you may need to grow
- Learn from Christian content on topics related to areas you need to grow in applying godly wisdom
- Join or create a Christian group with a focus on growth in areas in which you may need support
You may find many areas of life that require some level of transformation. With the busyness of parenting and homemaking, you may not have found adequate time to work on them or may not have even noticed them. Ask God where you should focus first and how best to proceed. As you discover what God is leading you to work toward, you can set goals and make a plan to move forward in those areas.
5 Areas to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester
While you walk in His will as a believer and discover more about your unique calling, God also desires for you to carry out His purposes in the regular endeavors in your daily life. You may feel you’ve lost the meaning you once felt in your life while raising your children, but God has new purpose for you in your family as well as in every other area of your life.
Though you may be led to focus on some things that don’t fit directly into these categories, the following are 5 important areas to seek God for wisdom and strength to work toward His purposes and plans for you in the empty nest and every season of life.
1. Spiritual – Your purpose is to grow in loving and reflecting God.
Your most important focus daily is to take intentional steps to draw closer to God to learn more about Him, recognize the leading of His Spirit and become more like His Son Jesus. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8a NIV) As you spend time with God, the desires of your heart and thoughts will begin to reflect His will.
The more you grow in your love for God, the more His love will overflow from you into the lives of others. The small steps you take daily to listen and obey His voice will allow your words and actions to reflect His light to your adult children, family and everyone you encounter. “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14a, 16 NIV)
Every decision you make in all areas of your life is directly affected by your spiritual life. The wisdom, direction and ability you require to follow God’s plan for your life is found in your connection with the Father, Son and Spirit. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV)
Growth in your spiritual life is nurtured in many ways: prayer, Bible study, learning and fellowshipping within a church family, devotional and Christian growth reading, meditating on verses, praise and worship, fellowship, support and accountability from Christian friends and mentors, brief pauses to seek God throughout your day, simplifying to find space in your mind and life to sense God’s presence and leading, and other creative ways you feel led to connect with God throughout your day.
I have enjoyed using the One Minute Pause app by John Eldredge as an encouragement to my soul as it reminds and guides me to release to God what burdens me and reconnect with Him in the middle of my day.
If you intentionally look up to God instead of around at your circumstances, you will remain on the path of purpose God has planned specifically for you.
2. Physical – Your purpose is to prepare your body to carry out God’s will.
Your body must be cared for as a sacred place in which God’s Spirit dwells to help you prepare for and walk in God’s plan for your life. According to God’s word “your bodies are members of Christ himself”, “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you”, and you are to “honor God with your bodies”. (1 Corinthians 6:15a, 19a, 20b NIV)
Being proactive to take steps to reach for your personal best in health and wellness will equip you with the strength, energy and perseverance to serve His purposes. Exercise, nutrition, sleep and also self-care such as managing your stress, negative thoughts and emotions are all important to equip your body to persevere in carrying out God’s will.
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8 NIV) In addition to taking care of your physical body, to equip your whole self to effectively fulfill God’s plans, you are instructed to train yourself in godliness. Spiritual, mental and emotional growth is required for this inner transformation.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) You must build a habit of doing the inner work to take captive your beliefs and thinking patterns so your thoughts and desires become one with God’s to understand and walk in His will.
3. Relationships – Your purpose is to express God’s love in relationships.
In any relationships you have or develop, God desires for you to give and receive His love, model Christ’s example, and get support to transform more into the person He created you to be. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10 NIV)
You will increasingly reflect Christ in your relationships when you devote yourself to being filled with and pouring out God’s love, as well as humbling yourself to put others’ needs before your own as the Spirit leads. There are many relationships that God desires for you to grow in to serve His purposes.
Your adult children will need you to play a different role in their life now. Seeking God to accept the change and learn new ways to relate to your grown up children in thoughts, words and actions is important to move forward with a healthy relationship. A book I recommend on this subject and other topics relevant to the empty nest is Empty Nest, Full Life: Discovering God’s Best for Your Next by Jill Savage.
If you are married, sometimes your relationship may have taken a back seat to parenting and homemaking. You may have to explore who you and your husband are now as individuals and seek God’s vision for becoming the couple He desires you to be and stepping out into new endeavors together.
You can seek God’s guidance to nurture more intimacy or resolve conflicts in existing relationships with family members and friends. And you may pray for God to bring new people into your life for Christian friendship to receive support in personal growth and life’s challenges. Or you might prayerfully seek a likeminded person to walk with as you carry out your God-given calling.
4. Finances – Your purpose is to manage your resources to support God’s will.
God desires for you to be a good steward of your financial resources by balancing faithfulness in meeting your present financial responsibilities and future goals, supporting His Kingdom purposes, and enjoying your life and His creation. Seeking God’s values, as well as exercising practical strategies, will help guide you in making wise financial decisions that serve your goals, your family’s needs and service to others without drifting from God’s priorities.
“Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10b NIV) It can be easy to over spend, under save, invest in things that may not be worth the cost, or miss out on investing in things that support God’s plans for your life. Even in times of financial challenge, seeking God’s direction and provision is the first step you should take along with taking inventory of the situation, obtaining wise counsel and implementing practical strategies toward a resolution.
5. Work – Your purpose is to perform all tasks to honor God and fulfill His will.
You are called to engage in your work as serving God rather than man—whether homemaking in the home, working a job from home, or working outside of the home in a career, church, ministry or volunteer role. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23a, 24b NIV)
It is fulfilling when your work is enjoyable and a fit for your unique design. However, even when your responsibilities may not feel comfortable or exciting, this spiritual perspective will help you to look to God to provide you with meaning, peace, joy and strength to put forth the physical and mental effort toward your tasks.
You may also be engaging in both inner and outer work to discover, prepare for or begin walking in the specific life’s work God is calling you to. This may naturally motivate you as you feel more purpose-driven about your calling, but every other mental or physical effort that you do every day is also to fulfill God’s purposes and bring Him glory.
Balancing work with your needs for rest and even play is important to stay refreshed, creative and effective. There is purpose in exploring new interests, hobbies or activities to bring your life more meaning and joy. New endeavors may even lead to building new relationships or adding new dimensions to your career, service or calling.
Faithfulness, humility and a godly attitude is pleasing to God no matter how you are spending your time and energy in this season. Whatever work you do, it fulfills His purposes for you to honor Him, grow yourself inside and out, and serve others.
Benefits of Finding Purpose as an Empty Nester
As you are intentional to seek God to transition your focus from the loss of purpose you feel to the new purposes revealed, you will feel new life growing inside you. You will begin to envision opportunities for personal transformation. You will embrace partnering with God to change your life and impact the lives of others.
As you partner with God to become and fulfill more of what He purposed, you will discover more about who you are and your unique calling in life, leading you closer to what you were perfectly made for. In seeking to fulfill God’s purposes for the different areas of your life, you will naturally begin to experience more intimacy with God.
You will have less internal tug-of-war between the world’s shouts and God’s whispers, leading to peace with your decisions even when they are outside of what’s popular. You will be filled with more peace and joy that only God’s Spirit can provide as you honor Him with your life. Your personal fulfillment will grow as you begin to understand how your design and calling fit into the bigger picture of His purposes within your family and the world.
There is purpose in finding purpose as an empty nester: fulfilling God’s will and fulfilling your soul.
Are you struggling to align some areas of your life with God’s purposes?
Do you need support to make some significant changes in some areas of life?
Are you tired of going it alone and need a spiritual companion on your journey?
As a Christian Life Purpose Coach I am passionate about being an unwavering strategic partner, spiritual companion, and consistent presence of support and accountability to help you weave together personal vision, spiritual focus and practical actions to make real, lasting life change to move toward God’s purposes for you in all areas of life.
Contact me to see how we can work together to draw God’s purposes out of your heart and begin to fulfill them in your life. I would be honored to walk with you to find purpose as an empty nester.