con·stan·cy . n. 1. Steadfastness, as in purpose or affection; faithfulness. 2. The condition or quality of being constant; changelessness
More than once, my husband and I have shook our heads at someone who recently turned 45 or 50. The whole "mid life crisis" thing. Believe-you-me, it is real. There but for the grace of God, go I! So many people lose their flippin' minds when they hit about 50.
They think they are hearing God, and they aren't. They think they're entitled, and they're not. They think they need to change things up, and they don't. They need to dig in and practice constancy.
The surest predictor of a mid life crisis is the soul-withering boredom that can set in. After all, it isn't how you begin that counts. It isn't how you end. Those two points in the process are exciting. It is what you do with yourself in the character-defining middle that totally dictates your finish line. It is easy to begin a race.
Almost all races are quit in the middle.
More spouses and churches and friendships and families and careers are left in mid-life than eleventy-hundred people can shake their collective sticks at.
I promise you that, smack dab in your middle, there will be a "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". There will be the awareness that nothing is turning out quite like you imagined. You will feel the urge to prove yourself. You will feel the urge to quit. Or to do something silly like move for the sake of moving, leave for the sake of leaving, buy a sports car or motorcycle, build a McMansion you can't afford, start a band, or raise Nubian goats.
Change! Any change feels like it might do the trick - it might make you feel alive again. Let's spiritualize it, while we're at it, and say we "feel led of the Lord".
Friend. Friend, friend. Sit down here beside me and have some Tension Tamer Tea. We are so in this thing together. I feel it, too.
Your enemy (who, by the way, is not me. Ahem.) will always approach you one of two ways. Only one of two.
Your enemy will either attack you, to try to get you to retreat...or he will try to get you to make peace with him. It is the making peace part that worries me. It is very tempting to make peace when you are so exhausted from the war. It is very tempting to change course abruptly, at the next sign of crisis, and then justify your retreat.
You will find yourself making every excuse in the book for why so many of your relationships are a wreck, for why you do what you do, for why your passion is gone. Every excuse is a justification for making peace with the enemy. The children of Israel were faced with this very thing in their "middle"...that place between Egypt and the Promise. (Ex. 34:11-14)
Beware of that sense of mid-life entitlement. When you don't live daily outside your comfort zone, when you make personal peace and affluence your idol, you end up making a covenant of false peace and false provision with an enemy.
You started out serving the Lord with abandon. Let me tell you - the same grace that saved you, is the same grace you absolutely must function in every single day. Notice I said "function". When there is no apprehension and appropriation of grace, there is dysfunction.
You began well. Stay the course. Don't let the heart ache and disappointments and exhaustion of the middle make you dull and cynical and jaded. Tap into the newness of life that is yours in Christ Jesus!