I love milkshakes. As I was running errands last week I remembered that Chic-Fil-A offers one of my favorites, peach, when the fruit is in season. So it was not unusual for me to decide that I would stop by for one. Large, of course. With whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Then I realized that it was not Saturday.

What does that have to do with having a milkshake? Almost five years ago I decided to make some minor alterations to my diet. Nothing drastic but slight changes that might help. I have not had a weight problem but I do have a “waist” problem. For some reason my mid-section seems to be growing at a faster pace than the rest of my body. My body shape is beginning to look like a pear.

I have always had a sweet tooth. If it is sweet I love it. And my high metabolism has allowed me to eat more than I should and things that I should not without gaining weight- until recent years. So I decided that I needed to do some things differently.

One thing I did was to stop eating sweets during the week. From Friday night through Sunday night I can eat whatever I want but not the rest of the week. For forty years or more I ate a bowl of ice cream just about every night. Giving up ice cream was the biggest change.

Now you understand why I could not have that peach milkshake- since it was Tuesday, not Saturday. When I came home and told my wife she said, “You are going to have a lot of ‘Saturdays’.”

I hadn’t thought about retirement in those terms but Lena was right. No more work schedules that had ordered my life for most of my years. I have worked for so long I cannot remember not being employed and having to adhere to some kind of schedule to accomplish my work.

Even when my schedule has been flexible and often up to my discretion I have needed time lines and accountability check points to help order my life. I am a reasonably disciplined person but I need some structure to my days, weeks, and months.

Now I am on my own. I have been told that retirement makes me a “free man.” That is good and I am happy to have reached this stage in life but I will have to discover ways to use my time wisely while enjoying the freedom that retirement provides.

My friend Marjorie Kimbrough has written a book, Order My Steps, (Abingdon Press) where she suggests that we can and should let God plan our day. In the introduction to the book that offers “Bible moments to start the day” she says, “I need and want to stay on the path that God has directed for me.  I want him to order my steps.” Me too, Marjorie.

In the absence of a schedule dictated by professional responsibilities and the expectations of others I realize that I must be more proactive in seeking God’s direction for my days. I will need to be very intentional to maintain a daily devotional life and to regularly engage in corporate worship. I want to make all of my “Saturdays” count in this new stage of life.

With the psalmist I pray, “Lord, teach me to number my days (to make them count) so I can have a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

Jamie Jenkins