I am not having a mid-life crisis. I’m really not. I don’t have time for a mid-life crisis, although the throes of middle life are hitting me hard.
I’ve been married for 25 years (married longer than I was single!) and closing in on the ripe young age of 46. I’ve lost a parent and am a caregiver to another; I’ve seen my oldest get married and am now getting ready to kick another out of the nest. I’m a “Mimi” to a precious 1-year old grandson! Yeah…mid-life is here. And it certainly has its challenges. I thought that by now, I’d have it all together and I would have “found myself.” I thought I’d be a totally secure middle-aged woman.
Remembering that my identity, my value, is in Christ alone is still a daily challenge. In my inner being, quite honestly, I still strive to remember who I truly am in Him.
I find myself in a season of some discontentment, feeling undervalued and yet…empowered. It reminds me of a scene from the 1990’s movie “Fried Green Tomatoes,” when one of the main characters, Evelyn, is trying to “find herself” in the crisis of mid-life. The scene opens with her trying to find a parking spot at the local grocery store, patiently waiting for a spot to open. Two young girls in a flirty, snappy car cut in front of her and grab the space she’s been waiting for. As the girls get out of their car she tells them, quite graciously, that she was “waiting for that space.” To which they reply, “Tough! Face it lady, we are younger and faster!” Time stops for Evelyn… the stars align and in that moment she finds herself. And. She. Acts. She guns the engine, backs up and repeatedly rams into their car. They come running. Screaming at her, “Are you crazy!?” She responds, “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.” Evelyn found her voice and she found her identity.
The scene cracks me up and I can relate to her feelings! She feels marginalized, less-than and out-of-date. She feels not enough.
Hear me loud and clear, I have not found my identity in vandalizing property or by demonstrating hormonal road rage….but I am faithfully committed to finding my identity day by day in the One who calls me by name and is secure, complete, and trustworthy- in every season of life.
Daily, I have to decide to remember that I live a post-Genesis 3 life. Genesis 3 changed everything. It is where sin entered the picture and destroyed our original identity as image bearers of God. My identity has been altered, just like yours, and it has devastated me. For most of my life, I have looked and looked and tried and tried to restore it myself. To find my identity in others, in my roles and functions as a wife, mother, daughter, friend and even as a ministry leader. I looked (and still struggle to look) for my value in my performance and others’ opinion of my performance. It hasn’t worked well.
The reality is my identity cannot be found or repaired by anything on this earth, it can only be found in Christ and His finished work.
Because of the devastating effects of sin on our identity, our natural tendency is to look for our value, worth and identity here on this earth. But we live in the brokenness of this fallen world with fallen, sinful people. And this place, ourselves…even the best of relationships leave us lacking… longing for something more.
I believe the Lord designed it that way. Our deepest longings and needs…our value, worth, and identity can be found in Jesus alone. That is really good news for this middle-aged woman! By His grace, I’m drawn back into to the truth of the Word, the truth of who He says I am in Him. The truth of who He says YOU are in Him, which is the truth of Ephesians 1:13-14,
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (NASB)
In other words, you can’t be in right standing with God on your own; no one can. You need to see your need and understand what Jesus did and put your trust in His finished work to save you; and because of that you are sealed “in Him” by the Holy Spirit of promise- becoming your individual part of God’s own possession.
But look again at the verse, did you see the “you” become “our”? An individual “you” becomes a corporate “we” of the Body of Christ. The ground is level at the Cross, and it is level in the Body of Christ, the value and identity of each part can never be diminished, even by age. We are transferred from out of relationship with God to in-Him and we are given so very much; all of us in Christ.
I don’t need to long for my “younger days.” I don’t need to be threatened by an ever younger world. I don’t need to fear approaching “old age” or losing my abilities or my contribution in this world. My part, my identity, my value doesn’t diminish with age, or without it. It is what it is, in Him. We are who we are, in Him. Our part in the Body of Christ is eternal and it is of highest value to Him.
In this New Covenant age we live with the opportunity to be in deep fellowship with YHWH, God, which far surpasses the original relationship in the Garden of Eden. The freedom in the Garden was God walking with them; now it is a relationship of God in us. Identity found. Identity complete. Identity secure….
Mandi Cornett is a Bible teacher, author, speaker and director of Cleanse. Fill. Pour. Women’s Ministry in Laporte IN. She is a ministry wife, mother of three, mother -in-law to one, and a recent Mimi! She has authors several inductive style Bible studies and loves to see women grow in the Lord. Find her on Facebook at Cleanse.Fill.Pour. Women’s Ministry or Mandi Cornett or follow her on Twitter@Mandi_Cornett. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her at www.cleansefillpour.com