Reflections on Middle Age…

I’ve discovered something  recently that I am having to accept as reality – being middle-aged.

I’m actually turning 55 this next month and I’m fairly oblivious to the actual amount of time I’ve spent on the planet.  You can blame that on hanging out with young people for years and years as well as having that rare disease that fights being a “grown up”…some of my closest friends not only call me immature but they have accepted the fact that there is nothing that they can do to help me be more mature.

Here are a few things that I have discovered recently (with the help of IMonk):

  • I’m old enough to be considered responsible and mature, but I’m not old enough to actually know what that feels like to be mature and responsible without a lot of effort.
  • I’m at the age where I’m pretty sure I’m incredibly boring and no one really wants to spend time with me, but I’m not yet at the age where I can do whatever I want and no one care.
  • I’m at the age where I’m considered a leader in ministry, but I’m not anywhere close to the point of actually feeling competent to actually lead anything.
  • I’m at the age where I’m supposed to be at the top of my game preaching, but everyone I know wants to hear a twenty-three year old with cool clothes, a tatoo and one good sermon.
  • I’m at the age where I’ve lost most of my vanity and have stopped worrying about being a balding man who battles being in shape…but my doctor has just started worrying about a dozen things I can’t see that can kill me.
  • I’m at the age where I am sentimental about all kinds of things, but I am not at the age where I can hold on to the moment and appreciate the gift of now.
  • I’m at the age that nothing makes me happier than to watch a movie with my wife but I can’t stay awake past 10:00 p.m.
  • I’m at an age where I have an array of big, hairy and bodacious ideas but only a miniscule amount of energy to accomplish them.

Someone I know once wrote, “Jesus left home at 30 and never came back for more than a visit. There’s not much in the Gospels specifically for us middle-aged guys.” When I read that, I really didn’t know what to think.  Eventually, I came to the point where I had to disagree and engage God in a new way…a middle-aged way.  For one thing, I have grown to rely on God’s mercy in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever.  I have learned to listen to the Spirit and then act.  I have learned that what God is doing around me, in others and in me is more important than what I am doing for God and for others.  I have joyfully accepted the fact that Jesus and His Kingdom must increase and that MY kingdom is trivial and meaningless at best.  I have come to realize that what is done for God’s glory and for the opportunity for ONE person to potentially see, experience and be transformed by the grace of Christ is more important than anything I can do to make myself feel better about who I am and what I do for God.  And finally, I have come to embrace the fact that serving someone in a humble and anonymous manner blesses God more than anything I can do where I get even an ounce of attention, positive feedback or public applause.  Maybe this middle-aged thing isn’t as bad as I think it is…I don’t know. I’m confused.  Maybe I’ll take a nap and get to thinking about it more later… 

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