Saturday, February 02, 2008
Shattered Dreams and Mid Life Crisis
My blogging friend Ted Gossard posted yesterday on how mid life can be a difficult time for many. Here's a brief excerpt from his blog:
"Recently I heard that age 44 is either the average or median age for adults worldwide feeling at their lowest. Of course we refer to this as "mid-life crisis." By that time there is a sense of having given up on one's dreams. And one is vulnerable then, to make huge mistakes."
Having just turned 44 myself, this naturally caught my attention. I must say that I'm actually as happy as I've ever been in my life. Yet, there is no doubt that mid life can pose particular challenges. As Ted correctly mentions, many difficulties stem from the realization that your dreams or aspirations might not be fulfilled. One of the first posts on this blog was on this very topic as I was reading through the book, Lost in the Middle by Paul Tripp. The point then and now, is simply that mid life doesn't really cause new problems (ok, maybe a few). Mid life actually reveals who we really are - what we really worship and who we truly love.
Ted says that mid life can lead a person to making "huge mistakes". If so, what are the keys to navigating through this period successfully? I'm no expert since I'm in right in the throes of the mid life but here are a few thoughts that have been helpful to me -
Every day is a gift - Some people hate the thought of getting older and diminishing faculties but what's the alternative? It's arrogant to take our lives for granted. Every day we have, to live together, to love others and to experience the grace of God in this present life, is truly a gift. It is not owed to us.
Dream new dreams - There's no doubt that I'm a dreamer - it's how God made me. As I've often remarked in jest, it's both a blessing and a curse! As our dreams are lost in mid life , we can trust God to give us new dreams and new aspirations, often reshaped with renewed purpose. Rather than resisting this, perhaps we can look forward in anticipation to what He'll do.
Trusting God - I know it can sound trite and simplistic but it's not. Taken from Jerry Bridges' book from the same title, this means knowing God as all powerful, all loving and all wise. Our dreams are in God's hands and He will do as He desires. Yet, we can take comfort that He exercises His will lovingly with untraceable wisdom.
It also helps me to remember the cross of Christ. In the wisdom of God, His divine love was extended to us according to His sovereign plan...maybe we can trust Him with our dreams after all.
What is your experience? Even if you're not in the throes of mid life, do share your thoughts.