By Graham Glover –
I turned 41 last week and, for reasons I can’t explain, I think I’m having a quasi-mid-life crisis. By all standard measures I should have had this “crisis” last year when I officially went over the hill. I don’t care if 40 is the new 30 or even the new 20 – it’s still old. But last year’s birthday came and went without a second thought. However, this year is different. This year I feel old. This year I am reflecting on things I never have. This year I am questioning what I have done and accomplished with my life, where my vocation is taking me (both literally and figuratively), and whether I am an adequate husband, father, and most importantly, disciple of our Lord.
Again, I don’t know why this year is different. By all accounts I think my life is pretty squared away. I have a faithful and loving wife whom I adore. I couldn’t be prouder or more satisfied with my children. The privilege to serve my church and my nation is seldom lost on me. That being said, I still have a PhD almost 8 years past due in completing. My waistline remains much larger than it should, especially for a soldier. I am compensated very well for my job, but my financial house needs some drastic improvement, as does my willingness to give back to the One who has given me everything.
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood. Maybe I miss the civilian parish or the university classroom. Maybe I need to look deep into my soul and finally come to peace with the doctrines of my church and the nuances of my Corps. Conversely, maybe I need to abandon one or the other. Maybe I am a grumpy old fart that should stop whining and instead be grateful for that which I do have.
Or maybe I really am having some type of mid-life crisis.
Ok. It’s not a crisis. I know it and so does my wife.
But if it’s not a crisis, what is it?
Why I am suddenly analyzing everything about me? Why, at the age of 41, am I still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life? Am I going to be an Army Chaplain, a parish pastor, a university professor, or do I want to return to my original vocation of politics? Am I incapable of being satisfied? If I finally earned my doctorate, lost some weight, paid off my debts, gave more to the church, and came to grips with my vocation – would this “crisis” suddenly go away? Who knows…
Actually, who cares. Who cares if I am ever satisfied. It shouldn’t bother me. It shouldn’t concern you. And is most assuredly shouldn’t be called a crisis.
But I have joined the throngs of people in this country and throughout the world who simply will not – who cannot be content with our station in life. We cannot find satisfaction, regardless of our age, because we always measure success and accomplishment by worldly standards. We compare ourselves to others. We evaluate our lives through temporal lenses. We find value almost exclusively in the things that we do.
I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I’m having an identity crisis – a crisis that pits me vs. God. I am obsessed with myself rather than our Lord. I may preach otherwise, but I am clearly more interested in earthly values rather than eternal ones.
So what should I do? How can I alleviate my “struggle” with turning 41?
Nothing. It’s not about what I should do. It has nothing to do with how I can alleviate things.
Rather, it’s all about Christ. It’s always about Christ. It’s about what He has done – what He continues to do. It’s about His standard, given to me and the world on the cross at Calvary. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
As soon as I embrace this reality, the reality of Christ’s grace and forgiveness, my crisis will end. For Christ has made me perfect. He has deemed me worthy. He has counted my life a success. Not because of what I have done, but because of Him, because of His love and His sacrifice. Not because of my deeds, but because of His deed in the empty tomb.
So Happy Birthday to me. May my life continue to be one that finds contentment and satisfaction in Christ our Lord.