I know many of my friends have had the experience of having their children move out of the house and move on with their own lives as Danielle and Caleb just did this past week, but for me it has been a time of truly questioning what is next in my life. As Lisa and I drove to Greenville last Saturday to see Danielle and take her some books, we talked about the speaker, Keith Davis, whose program was titled The Second Half. I agreed with her that I would have liked to have been there with her to hear him speak, because I feel like I am in the second half of my life. I am going through my mid-life crisis. Now before any of you that are reading this start thinking that I am going to change a lot of things about myself; let me calm your fears. I am not. I am not trading my car in for a sports car. (I want a truck.) I am not trading my wife in for a younger model. (I am having the time of my life being married.) I am not getting hair implants. (The only way I could grow out my hair.) I am not going to start wearing gold chains. (I can’t afford the gold.) My mid-life crisis is one that I am reflecting on where I am in the journey of my life and where I would like to be.
Now in the next few weeks I turn 47 years old, which is not very old but it is over the half way mark to the average life expectancy for an American adult male. Lisa and I have been married 24 of those years and now are enjoying the empty nest. I have been in the ministry in some form or fashion for over 27 years. In those 27 years, I have been a youth minister in 6 churches, a education minister in 2 churches, a family counselor in the same two churches, as well as preached in dozens (if not at least 100) churches. I have no idea of how many people have come to know the Lord in those 27 years, nor do I know how many have followed the Lord’s leading into the ministry though I can think of several just off the top of my head. Now I am not bragging as I reflect in this list at all, I promise. Sometimes I need to be reminded of where I have been and what God has done in those places.
I look at my family. Lisa and I are still together in spite of me. I have made plenty of mistakes. I have had to learn how to handle some major character flaws. Lisa put up with me as I learned those lessons. I have led our family through some difficult roads because I wasn’t willing to listen to God. I wanted what I wanted sometimes meaning that I ignored God in the process. Danielle and Caleb have heard God call them into the ministry. Danielle is at seminary pursuing her calling to go to the international field while Caleb is still in college, which he seems to be maturing more and more along the way. I would say that God has definitely allowed me along with Lisa successes in our family.
Psalms 139:23-24 (ESV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Now it is time to look at where I am going. I have changed jobs in the last year. I have not just changed jobs, but I have changed career paths. I have started a ministry that I would have never thought would have been in my future and I still ask God if I am hearing Him right from time to time. He confirms my calling from simple conversations and questions from others. He does not allow me to know much about tomorrow except to let me in on the fact that He is working out the details. He is giving me a new passion for ministry from a personal perspective. I am not sure how I can even explain that. My desire is to lead individuals in their relationships with the Lord, more than the church as a whole. I think that I am getting a better understanding of my role in the church ministry and how I fit into a church staff. I am realizing that my idea from the past was not what God had designed and I am willing to now allow Him to use me appropriately for His glory and for the furtherance of His kingdom. There still are times that I want to jump ahead or I want to reconfigure to what I want, but He is reminding me who I am and who He wants me to be.
You see my mid-life crisis is a time for me to reflect on my life and my calling as a minister. God is giving me a time to truly focus on what is important and not just “go through the motions” as Matthew West sings. This song is becoming my theme song for my life. I just love this song and for someone who is not that musical to say that says a lot. I am looking forward to the second half of my life and what God is going to do.