Midlife Press

bored

I will turn 39 this year…The more mid life I get, the more I’m convinced these all too common midlife crises are stemmed from sheer boredom. Ruts, routines.

I’ve been in the same career for 16 years. Been at the same company for 12. It gets boring. So much so, that I can be busy and bored at the exact same time. Sometimes our comfort zones can get so comfortable they start to feel uncomfortable. I’m more convinced than ever that idle hands (and minds) are the devil’s workshop. Let’s be aware that we can be busy as heck raising kids, working full time, holding down relationships and marriages, entertaining friends and still get bored. It’s a restless heart syndrome. And, this doesn’t make us bad. It makes us human.

Last week my daughter was talking about how bored she was. She’s 9. She said “Mom, we do the same things! Morning and night. And, school! It’s boring too.” She said the same thing at church last weekend. “How BORING!!” She was in a rut. I knew exactly where she was coming from, but couldn’t help but lean over and say, “Trust me honey, this is the MOST exciting thing you’ll hear….ever.” I still got an eye roll. The sermon was about the second coming of Jesus. Is there ANYTHING more exciting than that? No. I say bring it.

We look for the next exciting thing. We yearn for a vacation, a new friend, anything to break the monotony. Newness. We crave a challenge. Something, anything to ease the day in, day out, same thing, every day. This boredom and desire for excitement and adrenaline can easily lead to some very poor choices with a devastating ripple effect. We need to be aware of what’s going on. Are we just bored?

What if we leaned into rather than away from what our souls crave the most? What if we leaned into our calling? Asked God what it is? Dug into our passions? Filled our minds with all that is good? Poured into someone’s life? Asked God how to serve Him more? Love the people in our lives better? Learn how….There is always something to learn.

How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. Proverbs 16:16 (ESV)

How about rather than twist off, we twist on and dig in to what and Who really makes us tick. Ask Him how to jump start the rut we feel. Follow our passions. Step out. There is excitement and fear in that. And, that’s just the right combo of emotions for a good mid life press that just might better us and the world around us rather than leave a destructive wake. Can we spice things up in a positive way? Recognize it for what it is and be more aware of what we are looking to in order to change things up a bit?

We have individual interests and passions for a reason. What exhilarates you in a positive way? Do more of that. You may have stumbled upon your gift. When the routines of life leave us bored and restless, let’s press in rather than peel out.

Married 7 times?!

commitment

I had a patient this morning who struggled to get on the bed for her test and said “try not to get old dear, it hurts.” I actually hear that from a lot of my patients and I try to remind them that it sure beats the alternative. Sadly, some of them still say, “well, I’m not so sure.” I told her “I’m so sorry it hurts, take your time”.  She replied with “that’s life honey, it just hurts”. Then she started to tell me about her life and how she should have “taken better care of herself”.

She explained that she dove headfirst into all the drinking, drugs, and sex she could get a hold of. She even shared with me that she had been married SEVEN times! That just blew me away. I incorrectly assumed that she had been left seven times and started to try to console her. She quickly and honestly corrected me by saying she’s the one who always left. Wow! She affirmed that all of her husbands had been good men with the exception of one. I asked her why she left and she told me she just “got bored”. This was such an eye opening conversation for me since it was coming from a woman.

She says she didn’t become a Christian until she was in her 40s. But, even then she still left husbands. She reminded me that the Christian journey is just that, a journey. Change and wisdom don’t come overnight. I guess they could if God so chooses, but typically it takes time, alot of grace, experiences, and failures to learn how much God loves us and how He wants us to love others. She is a strong Christian woman now. She loves God with all her heart and confided in me that the main reason she left all her husbands was because she didn’t know that love meant commitment. She thought love was based solely on feelings and once they faded, she got bored and just left. She says she knows now that love is a choice and a commitment that you make in spite of feelings.

I wanted to share her testimony because it really spoke to my heart. She shared with me that her pastor has asked her to speak on marriage and she told him she could only speak on what NOT to do. That’s valuable too and I think she should! We need to hear what not to do as much as what to do. Her parting words of advice to me were when you are married and look over at your spouse and wonder “what the heck am I doing with this person?” or have an argument (which you will). Don’t leave! Work through it, make the choice to love and STAY. Pray and get the help necessary, but stay. Sidenote: you can’t MAKE someone stay who doesn’t want to be there and you shouldn’t stay if there is any form of abuse or unrepentant infidelity. I’m aware that every troubled marriage has different variables going on.

She reminded me to never get married on feelings alone because although our feelings change every day, the commitment to love shouldn’t. If you get married on feelings alone, you may very well leave when those feelings fade. They will ebb and flow, but the commitment should stand firm. The only reason she kept getting married over and over was because she “felt” like it was right……seven times. And she is single today. Feelings are fickle and lust fades. But, true love grows.

She reminded me that only God’s love can satisfy. She reminded me that we can bless others even after we fail over and over. She reminded me that God can and will use us to reach and teach others no matter what has happened in our pasts or who we “were”. She reminded me that pointing others towards Jesus is the single most loving act you can perform in ANY relationship (including marriage) because His love is the ONLY love guaranteed not to up and leave by choice or death. Even the blessed couples that make it till death do they part, will still part, unless Jesus returns first.

She regrets the string of broken hearts she left behind in her brokenness. Today, she blessed and inspired mine and we are both grateful for that. God is a God of restoration. I asked her if I could share her story and she said she would be honored. May God bless her abundantly for sharing with me.