Often this conjures up images of old men in sports cars, newer & younger trophy wives, and perhaps even trips around the world in an effort to “find oneself.”
I’m not talking about any of those things. I can’t afford a sports car, I love my wife and kids and I know who I am.
When you’re 50, I suppose it is normal to look at you life and go, “this is it?”
Things didn’t turn out quite the way I thought they would. Academically I was a 5%er. Years ago I had plans, dreams: successful pastor, successful author, Ph.D. and shaper of young men for ministry.
The reality isn’t quite any of that. I’ve been a largely faithful pastor of an average church hoping to break the 100 “barrier” in the near future.But I’m already seeing that ministry looks different than it does with 50-60 people. I’ve survived a building project, but thought the church would be bigger by now. It is a me thing? As a sinner, is there something I’m not doing that I should, or am doing that I shouldn’t? Is there something about my personality that rubs too many people the wrong way? I’m neurotic, so I have these thoughts even though I know I can’ t be all things to all men (and women) at the same time.
I hope that my first book will be published this year. It has been an excruciatingly long and painful process. I have this fear that I’ll sell about 100 copies, and I’ll never get the chance to write again even though I have a few good ideas I want to work on (and even a few books written though on obscure subjects).
I love my kids but there is no indication that any of them is an outlier academically, athletically, artistically or any other way, although they sure are beautiful. My kids are amazingly average (and I’m not pushing them to excel- one perfectionist in the family is enough).
My mid-life crisis seems more about the disparity between my dreams as a younger man and my reality as an older man. Largely the problem is my dreams, the dreams born of a younger, more arrogant man.
The road to humility is not chosen, but thrust upon you by One who loves you too much to leave you in your arrogance. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore He makes me humble to pour grace out upon me. Humility is born of the failure and frustration of life. Even the ordinariness of life if you start with a big head.
So, what am I to do? I’m called to find myself right where I am, in my marriage and family, in the church I serve. Christ has placed me there and is sanctifying me there. I’m not to run away, and have no inclination to (most days- sometimes the kids make we want to run away).
Years ago I had an electric guitar. A candy apple red Ibanez Roadstar with a Floyd Rose locking tremelo, Seymour Duncan humbucking pick ups and 5 position switch. I left it behind when I went to seminary. I didn’t play much guitar while in seminary after a rather humiliating experience when there where no other guitars to mask my mistakes. My plan was to return home after seminary, and that never happened. Rather than bring the guitar to Florida, I needed money and sold it to a friend.
I’ve been thinking about that guitar. In the intervening years I’ve been playing guitar in our worship services and gotten better. Though maybe it is my playing that runs people off. I wondered if my friend still had it and would sell it back to me.
Well, I have her back. My mid-life crisis will be shaking the house with electric guitar. Just another way to embarrass my kids. It’s time to master those power chords.
I forgot how heavy it was.
9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8