I turned 43 this past week and frankly it was a bit difficult to deal with at first. Honestly, I think the issue was probably just the fact that I had expected to have accomplished a whole lot more by this stage in my life. You know; saved half the world, published nine or ten books, served a term or two in Congress, and created at least one fortune 500 company. Well, maybe not all that, but some of you know what I mean.
Some of you are in the same boat. Maybe you have the t-shirt and wonder about the stage of life you’re in. The funny thing is that this feeling is not reserved for the retired. I remember one of the young guys on our team back in Nor Cal worrying about life when he turned 20. He thought his age was getting away from him. Yup, I laughed with him and then told him to chill out. The young warrior had no idea. But what is the best course of thought when the years seem like they are slipping away? Solomon advised young men to ““Rejoice” in their youth. But what about when you’re not as “youthful” as you once were? What do you do then?
We can remember that we are as “youthful” as we feel; which is something I do a lot. We can be still and look back at all that we have accomplished and rejoice in the victories that have belonged to us. We can count our blessings as an old hymn puts it. I think those are all great starting points. But I also discovered another strategy recently in a book by John Eldridge entitled Fathered by God. This is a great work for men who grew up without a godly father speaking into their lives as boys. In the book Eldridge guides the reader through various stages of a man’s life with the purpose of showing that God can “father” these men into the great leaders he created them to be. I took particular note of the “King” stage in the chronicle and began to see that in many ways that is the realm of life I’m approaching. In one sense these stages do overlap. I still find myself in the Warrior stage quite a bit with some voyages into the Sage season at times. But considering all the experiences I’ve had and the things I’m continuing to grow into, the King stage seemed to make sense and that was a very pleasant thought on my 43rd birthday.
Yes, I don’t have the same amount of brute strength and stamina as I did when I was 23. But I feel like maybe I have a whole lot more wisdom now. The ideal situation would have been to have the wisdom of a 40 year old in a 20 year old body. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s like I tell my kids, “Nothing will be perfect until we reach heaven on the other side.”
So what do we do with that in the here and now Kingdom of God? I would suggest for all of us that we simply “rejoice” in whatever stage of life we’re in and serve in that capacity today. We all have so much to offer the world and God is not done with us yet. It’s like I told one of my older friends this past week, “He’ll take you home when your work is done.” So consider what stage of life you’re in and rejoice in it. Use the advantages of that stage of the journey to serve others. Remember that this life is indeed a journey and Christ is preparing a home for those who love him. For now, what special piece (or peace) can you offer the world at this stage in your life? Feel free to share. We’d love to have your input.
On the lighter side, check out an old clip from the Three Amigos as El Guapo celebrates his 40th birthday. Wow, talking about age? I was in High School when that came out and now my boys think it’s a blast.