When Everything’s New Again
This has been a tough year for me and I’ve fought my feelings every day. Our cross-country move and my husband’s military retirement were huge. “Everything is new again” sounds so beautiful until you apply it to finding a new grocery store, a new dry cleaner, a new gas station, a new pizza place, a new church, new doctors, new friends…then, all of it gets really old, really quickly.
But for me, this tough time has been about more than all the changes from moving. I think I will call this period my “official mid-life crisis.” Maybe I’m being optimistic when I call this a mid-life crisis? I’m 47 today. If I’m having a mid-life crisis, that means I’m living to 94. That’s not completely impossible…right?
Anatomy of a Mid-Life Crisis
So, this is our last year homeschooling. To clarify, I was always a reluctant homeschooler, but doing this “job” has consumed my life for the past six years. Though we are calling it “homeschool”, this year is pretty much online school. This year, I am not the primary teacher of my kids. I’ve seen this coming for a while.
Three years ago, I tried to start preparing for change by planning my next phase in life — a new career. I made lists of pros and cons, did research into Master’s degree programs and legal requirements for accreditation or licensure. I thought about it from every angle and tried to consider all the possibilities. But I forgot one thing: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21, ESV).
Counseling, life coaching, teaching English…counseling, life coaching, teaching English…counseling, life coaching, teaching English…the plans kept flying around in my head but they never landed. I’ve even thought about going back to dental hygiene, but my mono vision contact lenses (one for reading and one for distance) would be the first of many dominoes to fall for that to happen.
None of the obvious choices really works for where we are right now. And all my prayers about what to do next have been met with silence.
The Not-Good Thoughts
Here is the place where I stumble: quiet from the Lord often provokes too much noise from me. My loudest thoughts lead me to anxious, sad, angry, lonesome, bitter, discouraged places. Have I wasted opportunities by sinking all of my heart and time into writing instead of working toward a new career? Will God use my “gifts” for writing and teaching again? Are those even my gifts? How can I contribute to the kingdom? How can I contribute to my household? Does anything I’ve done all these years matter?
Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are like a runaway train. Truthfully, I feel like I can’t help it. At all. But I can:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:4-9).
Finding the Miracle in Front of You…
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk about the good news: the antidote for a mid-life crisis. For now, I’ll leave you with some food for thought. Picture yourself in the midst of a real crisis, not an identity crisis or mid-life crisis, but a straight-up fight for your life:
Imagine being in water, over your head, and you can’t swim. The cold water closes over your head as you sink down, exhausted. You feel like you lungs will burst and you kick up to the surface for one last breath before giving up. You pray for God to do a miracle of biblical proportions.
And suddenly someone is there, throwing you a life-preserver! Do you take it? Or do you say, “No thanks, I’m waiting for God to miraculously change this water into dry land. You know, like He did for Moses.”
What if the miracle we need is right in front of us? Can’t wait to share the good news with you tomorrow! For now, I’d love to know — anyone else out there battling a mid-life crisis?
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