Help For My Midlife Chrisistianity
Midlife Crisis: an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle age (Wikipedia)
Midlife Crisistianity: an emotional crisis of identity and faith that can occur in early middle age (Me)
I don’t recognize who I am and the Christian I’ve become.
I grew up going to church, but I didn’t believe any of it until the summer after high school. In college, I shared my new found faith with zeal.
One summer, I went on a missions trip overseas. I’d barely left my state, let alone the country. I found out it’s hard to adjust to a new culture, hard just to buy toothpaste. I came back to school wanting to help international students. I also invited them to church, Bible studies, and discussed faith with them.
Following graduation, I spent a year overseas teaching English and sharing the hope of God. Then I came back to the US to go to seminary with thoughts of full-time mission work following.
When I finished seminary, God had me stay in the US. It seemed strange that He wouldn’t want me overseas as there is such a great need, but I obeyed (looking back, it was my pride that needed work as being overseas had become “holier” than being in the US). I worked for a ministry locally. I got married.
One day, my husband came home and wanted to explore moving to Taiwan. We spent two years in Taiwan working at a school for missionary kids. We had our first child, then we came back to the US for him to pursue a work opportunity.
We had two more kids and have been back four years now. We have hit the norm of American life with a home, a church, a job, and a family.
I have hit my midlife crisistianity.
What’s wrong with me?
I don’t seem to care about the lost anymore. I don’t seem to cherish time with God. No risk. No boldness. Flatlined. This is not the Christian I used to be, not the Christian I want to be.
Then this bit of truth hit me:
I was told by a marathon runner that you should try to run the second half of the race faster than the first. And once the finish line is in sight, many runners sprint. They use up every ounce of energy they have left because they know they can collapse once they break the tape.
“I want to run my life in that same manner. I want the second half to be stronger than the first. In America, the norm is to do the opposite: do radical things for Christ when you are 18-25, then slow down once you are married. When you have children your service to Jesus slows to a crawl–you have family to think about. Then it’s only a matter of time before your forget you are even in a race. Instead, you focus on building a home and settling down.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can run faster as the race goes on. In our final years, we can sprint, knowing that we can collapse into His arms.”
Francis and Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity
I started out so bold and brave, running my race with fervor. But now, I’ve slowed and become stagnant, walking the second half of my race.
The point of life after salvation is not to take it easy because my life is full but to share the one who came to give us “life to the full” with others (John 10:10).
For us, swords drawn up the gates of heaven.
Oh, may no coward spirit seek to leaven
The warrior code, the calling that is ours;
Forbid that we should sheathe our swords in flowers.”
Amy Carmichael, “Swords Drawn”
I’ve been lulled into easy Christianity and sheathed my sword in flowers.
I’ve got to find my identity in Christ again and lose this midlife chrisistianity.
Shall we prune?