Tomorrow is the big FIVE-O for me. (And I don’t mean Hawaii, thank you.) That’s right, after five decades of breathing air, I’m staring 50 in the face in less than 24 hours. Go ahead, ask me how I feel about it.
(Photo by Photodune)
The only bit of trivia I know associated with my birthday is I was born the day Walt Disney died. Can you believe it’s been 50 years since then? Well, the time has flown by for me too.
I saw in the news a couple of weeks ago that the oldest living human (at 117) credited her longevity to eating 3 raw eggs a day and staying single. WOW. So, as a married vegetarian, I guess I’ll never make it to 117.
It struck me recently that if I live to age 76 (the average life expectancy for U.S. men), I’ve already missed my chance to have a midlife crisis.
Come to think of it, I actually have plenty of time for that midlife crisis—and then some.
So do you. Here’s why.
How Old Do You Think You Are?
Have you ever heard the question: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? How would you answer? That’s a tough question. I’ve thought about it some:
- When I served as a pastor for 14 years, people kept telling me, “You look too young to be a pastor.” Really? I never knew whether to thank them or to quote 1 Timothy 4:12.
- When I began serving at a non-profit ministry 12 years ago, suddenly I was older than most of my coworkers. Oh, great. I’ve been too young or too old, but never just right. (Now I’m way past “just right.”)
At 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all. —Ann Landers
The realization that more of life lies behind than ahead causes some people to panic. The “midlife crisis” simply represents a crisis of identity, of significance, and of purpose.
I get it. God built us for those things.
But God designed us to long for identity, significance, and purpose, then God offers the solution for those things. They all find their satisfaction in God alone. Our problem comes when we try to find solutions to those longings in things that merely occur in these 80 years of life.
King Solomon tried it all, and he concluded it was all meaningless.
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)
It still happens today. You’ve seen it:
- The guy with the sporty convertible that blows back his hairpiece
- The lady who wears tights at the gym to cover up her varicose veins and stretch marks
- The middle-aged executive who gets a tattoo, liposuction, and an Amazon subscription plan for Gray Away
You know you’re reached middle age when your weightlifting consists merely of standing up. —Bob Hope
As I see it, there’s a better way to think. Our lives aren’t these 80 years and then . . . just death. We don’t have to try to grab it all now.
There’s more. Much more.
Add a Thousand Years to Your Thinking
Most of us Christians look too far into the future. We think we’ll die and go to heaven and that’s all. Hello, eternity.
But that’s not all.
Our lives on this earth equal our 80+ years of this life—plus 1000. How so? Read again John’s words in Revelation:
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. —Revelation 20:6
As believers, we will live on this very same earth for 1000 years with Jesus Christ ruling the world. In fact, those ten centuries represent the Kingdom of God that the Old Testament promised and that Jesus offered to Israel. We get to take part in that.
Think of it: On this very earth. In our resurrected bodies. For one thousand years.
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)
A View from Over the Hill
I’m convinced we need to view our lives in view of this coming Millennial Kingdom of God. I can think of several benefits to this mindset:
- I no longer feel the need to cram all my joy into this life.
- Life no longer looms as a fulfillment-challenge to chase but a faithfulness-challenge to pursue.
- My life now measures less than 10% of my whole life on earth. By far, most of my days will be serving God without the hindrance of my flesh nor of the results of the fall.
- All that I’m dreaming of for a peaceful existence occurs THEN—not now.
You Only Live Twice: That’s Plenty of Time for a Midlife Crisis
You’ve heard people say: “You only live once.” Actually, that’s wrong. You live twice. (It’s dying twice you’d better watch out for.)
So yes, I’m 50 tomorrow.
But no, I have no plans to get a facelift, liposuction, or even to buy a new sports car or a fixed-wheel racing bike. The good news is my midlife crisis won’t even be up for availability for several centuries.
Thankfully, by then, I won’t want one.