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Faith and Family: Empty Nest Syndrome — Use ‘midlife’ as time of renewalcomment (0)

October 11, 2012

By Rod Marshall

The “midlife” crisis is fairly common in our culture. For many people between the ages of 40 and 60, several dynamic life changes simultaneously occur that can be challenging, confusing or rewarding. Midlife often happens when one’s career trajectory has plateaued, one’s children are going off to college and one’s parents are beginning to suffer from the maladies of aging. It can sometimes feel overwhelming. It also can be a great opportunity for a midcourse evaluation and, if needed, course correction.

Perhaps the author of the book of Ecclesiastes was facing his own midlife crisis when he penned such words as, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2); “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9); “I hated life; because the work that is wrought is grievous” (Ecc. 2:17).

There are times when our own lives can become so overwhelming that we might think all is vain or when things become so routine that we begin to feel as if we hate our lives. However, midlife also is a great time to recharge our lives and to restore our joy. We have greater wisdom from experience in midlife than we had in our youth. We have fewer obligations in midlife, perhaps allowing us to reclaim control over our schedule and our finances.

After a season of painful soul-searching, the author of Ecclesiastes reached this conclusion: “Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” An effective strategy for facing midlife is to ensure that our lives are purposeful. By attending to our relationship with God and service to our neighbors, midlife can be a time of personal renewal and revival. Moses was 80 when called into service to deliver the children of Israel from bondage. His life was two-thirds over. Yet his obedience allowed him to become the deliverer of his people. As you look at your own midlife, ask yourself what God may have for you to accomplish in your midlife prime that might have been impossible in your youth.

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