Mid-Life Crisis?

LORD, make me know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. -Psalm 39:4

I am getting older. Now, I did not say I am old, but I am getting there. Two months until I hit the big 4-0! In some ways it feels like the last 39 years and ten months have flown by. But I can look back at everything I have done in my time so far, and it all comes to a clearer perspective.

I am onto my sixth job (mind you that one was unpaid and two only lasted one week). I have performed on the improv stage, I was a practicing martial artist for ten years, I was a semi-pro football player for a season. I have travelled to some beautiful, far away places (New York being one of them, which really is not far, nor does it seem as beautiful now if you watch the news at all). So I can not say I have lived a sedentary, sheltered life, but I feel like there is much more to do-like I have not done enough. There is still something missing. Is it missing really, or could it just a lack of something I already have?

Am I preparing for a mid-life crisis? Do I need to buy a fancy European sports car? Do I need to find a girlfriend half my age? How about a motorcycle, riding cross country like Easy Rider (that would be a “NO” if you saw that movie). Not That is all just vanity.

There is something I have now, yet I still lack in a major way. It is something we all lack-something we all need more of desperately. It is not fast, shiny toys or trophy significant others we should be seeking. And it is not more time. We can not look for it and we never know how much we have left, anyway. For what time we do have, I, rather we, need to re-focus, devote ourselves to what comes next. I am not saying to not live in the present, that would be irresponsible of me. We should enjoy ourselves in the moment and try to be content with what we have and where we are. It could all be gone tomorrow. Not to paint a bleak or pessimistic future…

For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing, neither have they any more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. -Ecclesiastes 9:3

Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal or steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also. -Matthew 6:20-21

The old saying goes: “time is of the essence.” It means that something must be done immediately. We are always running out of time. It does not slow down. It does not stop. You or I may have ten, twenty, or fifty years left; or we could have seventeen minutes. There are some things that can wait. But there are things that can not. As I get older, it is not about things I need, need, need RIGHT NOW! It has become more about thinking about what comes after this. So many people when they hit middle-age might start to think about clinging to their youth or “live like they were dying,” but do they consider eternity? What comes next? Fancy sports cars and trophy significant others are not the answer. Making a million dollars, as nice as that might be, is not the answer. None of that goes with you. It will all be gone after you are gone and long forgotten on Earth. What we must start to think about is our real treasure-the treasure not of this Earth, but of Heaven. What is it and how do we get it? Where does it come from? Gaining more stuff now will not make us genuinely happy or joyful. The only way to do that is to focus our time and effort on Jesus Christ. Only in Him can we gain real reward and treasure. This treasure truly lasts.

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you should have always been.” -David Bowie

Some would say, “Life is short.” That is another glum way of looking at things. A dear friend of mine, who has moved on elsewhere in her life said, “Life is long.” She is just a couple years younger than I am and is in rather the same boat, just starting her education. Her goal was, or is, to become a surgeon. I thought “it is kind of late to get started schooling for that at 37 years old.” But her idea of life is that there is plenty of time. She was always cheerful and optimistic when I talked with her. I hope she still is. I like her idea that “life is long” and hope I can start to think more that way. I miss her and pray for her. Thank you, B.

When I graduated from high school, I had visions of moving on to a big 4-year college. Central Washington University was my choice. But I was unfocused. I had varying interests and did not know what I would have majored in. The top two choices would have been Physical Education or Psychology. And since I was not that great of a student or a good athlete, there was no way I was going to get any scholarships.

So then came Highline Community College. I will not waste either of our time-my writing or your reading about that experience. I will say after seven (yes, seven) years in and out of there, I was finally out for good. But I never gave up on the hope of continuing my education, and finishing college ceremoniously in some way. When the world finally kicked in, I found myself working at a “real job” doing forty plus hours a week on the graveyard shift. School got put on a long hold.

Today I am glad to say I am back at it and have been successful in my first three classes, as of this writing. I am a week away from finishing class number four. So, LORD willing, in forty-some weeks I will have earned an associate degree. After that, we will see… I am trying to not look that far ahead; there is a lot of work left to do.

It has been a labor, hard labor, of love to continue with school. It is something I believe God has put in my heart to do.

***LORD, please bless me in my schoolwork and allow me to use the time to glorify you and become a better servant to you and to Jesus Christ.***

I only wish I could have had this years ago, but even after I felt the calling to return to school after coming to Jesus, I was still undisciplined about it. Time, energy, social responsibilities (of the wrong kind) always got in the way. Now I am happy to say, despite the near complete social isolation, I have all the time, energy, and discipline I think are necessary for me to make a real go off this and bring it to a successful conclusion. At the conclusion of school, though, what is next? It is hard to stop asking questions. We always wonder what is next .

There is a fine line we must walk between concentrating on and being content with now and wondering about our future. What do we want? What do we need? What do we have? When does it stop? We all know when, but we do not know when that when is. “The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, there is no longer any reward for them, because all memory of them is lost (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

Live in the now, live today. Get what you can honestly and painlessly (at least for others). Always be content and never covet anything or make anything an idol. It will not go with you in the end.

Only one thing mattes in the end. And if you do not have it now, you need to get it and get it quick. Either our time will run out or time will run out on this world. And everything we love-all the cars, all the houses, all the money, all the people-will go up in flames. Yes, flames. And if we are not gone by then, we surely will be then if we are not on the right side at the end. The right side of God.

That is what I am talking about. That is what I need. That is what we all need. That is where the questions stop.

Call to me and I will answer you – I will tell you great things- Hidden things that are unknown. -Jeremiah 33:3

“The more I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” -Frank Lloyd Wright

Life gets shorter every day. And we will run out of time before we get all of our questions answered. We may never run out of questions, but we will never get them all answered. Questioning and wondering can make life beautiful. We should never lose our desire to question and explore. And I am sure as we get even older, we will be filled with more wonder- questions that can not be answered. Except by the creator of the universe.

God has all the answers. Have you asked Him lately? Have you prayed? “The reason you do not have is because you do not pray!” (James 4:2)

It is time you start. It is time we all start more. I can write all day about my desire to finish school. I can write about people I may never see again. She is a memory. School will be a memory one day. And one day I will have no memory of either. And no one on Earth will have a memory of me.

Now I do not mean to paint a bleak picture. I hope I am not. I am trying to be realistic. I do not mean turn anyone off. I want everyone to think-think about your lives and where you are headed. I want everyone to live in peace and happiness. But life is not all peace and happiness. “In the world you will have tribulation. Be brave! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).

We will never have everything we want, but one thing will. The most sure think in this world is Jesus Christ. So come to Him. Give your life-your past, present, and future to Him and you will live for sure. Put it all at His feet. He gave His life for you. Give yours to Him. There is nothing more in this life or the life to come that you could ask for, or hope for.

This is not a mid-life crisis. In Jesus Christ there is no mid-life. There is this life then there is eternity. Without Him there is only this life, then there is nothing. Not much of a question to ask. Not much of a choice to make…

Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, But having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

-Romans 8:6

I am going to finish school. I have made that decision, that choice. But my life does not depend on it. What my life – what all our lives depend on is making the choice to follow Jesus Christ. To get as much of Him now as we can. To spend as much time in real, genuine prayer; in the word of God, the in the presence of God. That is what our future needs to be about.

Without Jesus this life is all we have. Whoever dies with the most money or toys does not win. Only those who have eternal life in Jesus Christ will be victorious in the end.


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