There’s a lot to deal with in midlife. That empty nest syndrome for one can really take you for a loop. But that is not the only crisis you are looking at as you are “becoming sage”.
What does that even mean? “to become sage“. You might have thought about the herb. But the first definition listed by Webster is actually “wise through reflection and experience“. My thought was similar to this …something like Michelle Van Loon said”to cultivate fresh growth and ongoing fruitfulness for those of us growing through the latter seasons of our lives.
So, What is Becoming Sage?
As our children grow up and leave the nest, we find ourselves struggling to figure out just what or who we are. We have spent the past 18-20 (or more) years raising kids. Life has pretty much encircled our children. So now, if we haven’t been careful, we end up asking ourselves, “Now What?” We may not really even know that guy sitting on the couch across the room, typically referred to as our husband.
At church, we may feel lost because we have spent all our time in the children’s department. Honestly, though I was a children’s director most our my ministry years, I believe that we have got cdoing church all wrong. We separate out into age groups; never intermingling with others and having no intergenerational contact. How can we learn or grow if we are never around older people?
The churches where my husband pastored wanted this type of organization calling this a “family church”. NO! a family church worships together as a family. I altered this with once a month family day where everyone worshiped together and children’s visiting days where we went to visit shut-ins. Oh anyway, I am getting a little off track. 🙂a FAMILY CHURCH worships together as a family. #worship #intergenerationalworship Click To Tweet
Maturity. Yes spiritual maturity is what I am talking about. It could be that if you were teaching in the children’s department all those years that your faith has become stagnant. ouch! But seriously, how often did you get any real challenging teaching? I might be time to take a look and make some changes.
If we are becoming sage, we are also coming to terms with the fact that filling a church org chart my be a sign of a person’s church commitment, but it is not a measure of their spiritual maturity.Michelle VonLoon, Becoming Sage
From Teacher to Learner
As our family relationships re-shape, we must also reshape our personal relationship with God. Yes, it is a little sad to give your daughter away and feel that lonesomeness. But we must find the silver linings. Find those things that make this time in your life even better. Now can be a time where you really focus in on God. I know for me, that I have had much more time to spend in the Word and get close to God. And I am loving it.
Think about how you can make this the best season of your life. First start with this: Ask God to reveal what He wants you to learn in this stage of your life. Remember that verse you taught your kids?
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.Matthew 7:7, NLT
Here are a few considerations as your search your heart
- Gratitude. practice it. Look for joy every day. Start a joy journal. Every day, list three things that make you happy or you are grateful for. Offer these things to God in praise. You could even place these things on cards in a big jar. Then when you have a not so joyful day. Just pull a couple of cards out. You’ll be joyful in no time.
- Consider your Fears. What are your fears during this time? Talk with God about them. Look up some verses about how God deals with our fears. Here is one of my favorites.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10
- Talk with your friends about these changes. It could include marriage issues, divorce, aging, and dying parents, illness, prodigals, grandchildren. You will probably find you have a strong enough group to start a support group. 🙂 Then go out and find the resources you all need.
- Deal with loneliness head-on. Reach out to friends and recultivate those friendships or make new ones. If we ever get past this pandemic, utilize those coffee shops that are popping up everywhere and make appointments to have “a cuppa” together on a regular basis. Just having something to look forward to can make a world of difference. In the meantime, you can still have meaningful conversations on the phone, texting, messaging. I’m talking private discussions, not with the whole world.
- Mentoring. Turn around and see who is following you. You have things to offer others, so offer them. There are a lot of young moms who have no one nearby to help them out. Go help. Think back at what would have been a great help to you and then do it. There is one thing I have found that giving is way better than receiving.
Becoming sage relationally includes learning to be along with God, leaning into times of deep loneliness, remaining open to new connections, and nurturing or renegotiating old friendships in the context of the security we have in our friendship with God.Michelle VanLoon, Becoming Sage
Well, friends, these are a few things that inspired me in Michelle Van Loon’s new book, Becoming Sage ~ Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife. You might want to go pick up a copy.
Many thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.
My first impression of this book was not that great. It was almost depressing because I saw where the church is failing its people. But then I looked through again, looking for the answers she offered. She does have much to offer but you might have to read it slower or actually do the activities at the end of each chapter. 🙂 – Mandy
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