Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mid-life crisis?

“There is an appointed time for everything and there is a season for every event under heaven” -Eccl. 3:1

Parenting is not easy and we sure don't parent in a vacuum. Most of us are trained professionally to separate how we’re doing from what we do. But that’s not possible when it comes to raising children. There’s just too much of who we are in all that we do as moms and dads.

“Mid-life crisis” is not listed as a psychological disorder and there is not a medication yet invented to make it go away. There are a gillion different definitions to describe it and it varies from person to person. I’m thinking “crises” happen all through life, at any age, but I happen to be at “mid life” and I’ve been encountering some challenges lately. So, I’m concluding that I’m going through “M.L.C.” (I just made that up).

A man I deeply respect, Jack Herschend, is known for his awesome quotes. When he speaks, people listen. He and his family are largely responsible for the Branson boom and he is a committed Christian. He once said, “having lost sight of my objective, I redouble my efforts.” In other words, playing harder doesn't make up for playing smarter. And being smart is having a plan and a focus.

I am 52 years old and hope to live to be a 100. So I guess you could say its half time in my life right now. The wonderful ministry where I served for 28 years shut it’s doors in Branson and I’ve just begun to serve as associate pastor at growing and thriving FBC in Branson. It’s the same line of work with a different twist.

And I just said bye to my mentor, boss, and friend, Richard beach, who went home to be with the Lord last week after a long bout with cancer.

It’s been a time of loss and it’s been a time of fear. But mostly it’s been a time of faith building. With so many securities stripped away, I’ve been doing a lot of talking with God lately. My wife and I recently watched the live Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and were impressed again by Tevye, the dad’s, casual and easy dialogue with God. I want that kind of friendship too.

So, the Lord and I have been in the locker room at halftime writing plays on the blackboard and figuring out how to make the second half of my life more successful than the first half. I’m setting some pretty aggressive goals to be the husband my Jeanie needs, to love my kids and grandkids, to be a Godly minister, to finish a book and more.

But the goals on the locker room blackboard are worthless unless I take them back out on the field the second half of the game. All the pep talks in the locker room mean nothing if I creep back on the field and fail to apply them to the game.

I want my second half to matter and as I’m heading back out onto the field. I’m ready to roll. But the truth is, the first and second quarters matter too. No matter where you are in the parenting journey, use your time outs. Take the time to set goals and objectives that tie into your parenting. Be intentional about your role.

Ask your spouse and friends to hold you accountable. And as the crises hit you in quarter or mid life, take them to the locker room with our loving and wise God. Talk with Him. Dialogue with Him. He’s always there to help us set just the right objectives and goals. And with those in place, we find our life is more relaxed, at peace and effortless.

Even then, parenting is still a huge challenge, but it becomes more fun too.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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