Sunday, September 09, 2007

Why Thank you! A Mid Life Crisis!

I'm reading a new book by TD Jakes, Reposition Yourself, as well as reading Thinking about Tomorrow- Reinventing Yourself at Midlife(by S. Crandell). Today my pastor preached a sermon about Peter, and and about getting out of your boat- your comfort zone. I'm getting the not so subtle message sent to me, from God, that I'm in a critical zone of potential change. This all makes me think that I'm about to have a wonderful, delirious midlife crisis

Now wait, this is good. Really. Here's why.

Everyone thinks "crisis" means catastrophe. But did you know that according to the Free Dictionary, the first definition of crisis has to do with something possibly positive?

cri·sis (krss)
n. pl. cri·ses (-sz)
1.a. A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point.
b. An unstable condition, as in political, social, or economic affairs, involving an impending abrupt or decisive change.
2. A sudden change in the course of a disease or fever, toward either improvement or deterioration.
3. An emotionally stressful event or traumatic change in a person's life.
4. A point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved.

A crisis CAN be an unstable time (b), it can be an emotionally stressful event(3)or a time of high tension(4). But it also can be, decisively so, a crucial turning point in your life. That's why having a crisis- a turning point- can be a really good thing. For some of us, it's about time things turn around- for good!

It's a waste to keep on having crises and have no resolution of mind concerning what you will do differently next time. It's a waste to go through a draining series of catastrophes and not decide to throw off an overcoat of fear that still did not protect you from a rain of trouble.

I can play it safe, and still not get a chance to play hard in the game of life. Or I could go out on the field, run hard, pull a muscle or even break a leg, and get taken off the field on a stretcher with a grimace of pain on my face and a blazing heart thumping in my chest- thinking, "I LIVED."

Mid Life Crises can be traumatic and embarrassing- if choices are made foolishly, desires not dealt with soberly, expectations not dealt with under the light of grace and truth. But a mid life turning point- I prefer to proclaim one of those for myself- is a time of second wind, "fresh wind, fresh fire" (thank you Jim Cymbala) and most of all, a better run in your second half because you know why you're running the race. And HOW to run, now.

1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith ..." (Heb 12)

For me, stripping off anything that didn't serve me well in my first half of life makes sense. Every encumbrance, every habit or aspect of mindset that binds, constricts, and keeps me running-in place- has got to go.

Now, what exactly are these things I'm stripping off? Well, I'm carefully appraising the situation- my life- and deciding what they are. I've had a lot of encumbrances that I can see so clearly, as I look back on my teen years and college days, but I'm not as clear as to what the encumbrances are from my last decade. I've been a respectable wife and mother in my thirties and now in my mid forties- and I don't need to throw respectability out the window! But I do need to look at whether that's been the most telling thing about my life.

Probably my biggest encumbrance has been in not acknowledging my gifts and my calling earlier in life. I took too long to get to the place where I could say, "I'm a writer. I've always been a writer." And that isn't all that I am, but it certainly is an aspect of me that I've only recently released to the world- boldly, fearfully, but nevertheless I've been saying it out loud, and more so to myself: "I am a writer."

There are many things I am not. I'm not a salsa dancer or an interpreter for the U.N.- sorry, Dad. I'm not an avid home organizer- but I don't need to tell my husband that! I'm not a mild, soft-spoken mother who lets my husband deal with my teenage son exclusively while I sit in a rocker and knit- my teenage son rolls his eyes in agreement but there's a smile on his face. My 13 year old daughter has started to point out potential dangers as we are driving because she sees me discussing something passionately and wonders if I'm still on top of my driving. (By the way, she is the organizer.)

I can see that my kids are also wondering who Mom is becoming- and that's good! Life is not boring here at the Caldwell house. There are thoughts and plans and dreams to be contemplated and then acted upon. There are colleges to check out- for my son, and sports to play- for both kids- and houses to build again- for my husband. But for me, there is mostly a throwing off of every weight that hinders me.

I'm too old now to be encumbered. And I'm too young to slow down in the race. I'm looking at the Author and Finisher of my Faith...and I get a second wind.


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