I was reminded of this today when I came across an unpublished post on my old blog. It was sitting in the wings, waiting to take shape, written in the middle of the wrestling that we experienced in the Philippines. It still isn't finished, but I thought I'd share it here, partly because it's wonderful to look back seven years later and be able to say "the crisis is over." And partly to affirm my 27-year old self by giving public voice to her questions. The answer, Carmen, is "yes, that was a mid-life crisis." I guess I can't promise it will be the last, but it was the real thing.
After surfing the web a while in search of a definition, I've given up. Some say mid-life crisis happens between 40 and 50 years of age when a person suddenly wonders who they are. Some say there's no such thing as a 'mid-life crisis'. Another stated that it's a period of personal identity crisis that happens around 40 years of age, give or take 20 years.
I'm 27. It's unlikely that this is a full-blown mid-life crisis that I'm experiencing. Call it what you want. But the dominant feelings are restlessness and a questioning of what direction I'm heading. Having chosen a vocation, I find myself constantly wondering when I can pursue my true calling in life, the purest expression of who God has made me to be.
But where does obedience fit in? I have this nagging suspicion that God's first priority may not be a fast track to self-actualization. So how can I tell?
I've learned since that self-actualization, if that's what Wheaton is for me, is still a lot of hard work. And I do think that God's first priority is his own glory, not our comfort. Obedience has taken our family around the world and (almost) back and all along the way God has shown us more of himself. I've learned that our zip code doesn't matter as much as the state of our hearts. I've learned that ministry can happen anywhere. And I've learned that while God does have gifts to give us that can only come wrapped in suffering, these are not his only gifts, and we need not look for them. He has armloads of other blessings for us, even when life is "easy." The simple fact is he loves us. A lot. And because of his great grace he leads us into green pastures and beside still waters.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13