If I live to be 90, then I am officially at the mid-point. But that is not what mid-life is all about. It is about several realizations:
that most of the big decisions in life have been made…;
that not much is likely to change from what I am doing now…;
that I have not accomplished nearly as much as I had hoped I would…;
and that the end of this life is coming nearer, including the breakdown of my body, mind, and the loss of relationships.
Basically, it means realizing one’s mortality. This is good, but how we respond to it makes all the difference. If we throw off all restraint, chuck relationships, and go for some crazy stuff that makes us feel immortal again, then this realization time has been wasted. But if you take it as a chance to reevaluate what is truly important, shift your investments to people, and leave a legacy, then it has done its proper work.
So, friends, along with me, examine your life. It did not originate with you and in the end, you must give it away. You brought nothing in and you take nothing out. You have but a few brief years or decades and then, like a temporary white cloud set against a deep blue sky, your life evaporates.
On one’s own, life is truly empty because in and of myself I have no eternal substance. Turning to life’s source makes sense because He alone has the reason for our existence. Living for anything else is like using a screwdriver as a hammer. It can be used that way, but it ends up broken. We have to live our lives for the purpose that we were created for.
So, mid-life has brought me back to true life. It has brought me back to Yeshua, that man of 33 years who had a messiah complex simply because he was the Messiah. He radically called men from basic occupations and lifestyles to follow him. They could not remain neutral, as many of us wish we could. Either they got up and moved, or they stayed. Not making a choice was a clear choice, and that remains the same for us today.
Matthew followed at mid-life. It changed his world from the inside out. He found what most of us are looking for…a true definition of himself through the eyes of God. He’d failed, and he’d used people. Inside his life was quite messed up and few people wanted much to do with him. But Christ Jesus wanted him.
He still calls out to men and women today…especially those at mid-life with all our so-called wisdom. And he says, “Are you ready now? Have you had enough of doing this your way? There is another way.”
And the real answer to mid-life comes to those who yield. Empowerment, purpose, truth and deep-level satisfaction. Sure, we have been “satisfied” with life all along, but how real has it been? There is always a restlessness for the “next thing” isn’t there? If so, that is not true satisfaction.
As CS Lewis has said, “It is not that our desires are too strong, it is that they are too weak.” We are so easily satisfied with lesser things while all along He has something so much more real, deep and satisfying.
So, at 45, I am here, facing myself, life, others, and my own body, with a new awareness. I am finding true the penetrating words of Yeshua, “He who finds his life shall lose it, but he who loses his life shall find it.”
In my 30 years of truly following Him, I have lost many things, relationships, and opportunities. That was inevitable… for I more deeply wanted the things, relationships, and opportunities that He had waiting for me. You cannot have both and in the end, you will be glad for the things you never really got.
So, mid-life is a time for laying down and picking up.
I don’t know where I am going, but I know whom I am following. How about you?
Brent Hoover, August 31, 2009. Ann Arbor, MI.