I’m in a weird, confusing, exciting time of life. Some might call it a midlife crisis. I don’t know … am I old enough to be in a midlife crisis already?
A couple months ago I quit my job. It was an unplanned, spontaneous decision, which I’m still daily understanding the motives of. Some days it makes perfect sense. Others, it does not.
I’m questioning (discovering?) my true identity. Not what I do. Who I am.
I’m tearing down a lot of the fences that have defined my lifelong sense of safety.
I’m “discharging my loyal soldier.” (For more on this, see Richard Rohr’s book below.)
I left a political party affiliation to become an independent voter.
I’m unlearning a lot of what used to define basic truths for me.
I’m moving from the land of black and white to the land of gray.
Much of this can be credited to Chris, who has influenced my understanding of a lot of things. Big, life things. (What faith looks like, what it means to spiritually lead, what marriage looks like, etc.)
I married a man who is eight years ahead of me in life, comes from an opposite background and resulting worldview, and is my polar opposite in personality. (Enneagram 2 vs 5).
Also he also does basically nothing by the book.
Our church has also been a big influence on my spiritual and emotional growth. It has been a safe place to question, disagree and dialogue about the hard and messy things in life. To wander in the spiritual desert a while and still be accepted and loved. I’ve never known a church like ours.
The pandemic hit in my 42nd year, so it just served as a catalyst for changes that were already naturally happening. I’m reading books like Falling Upward (Richard Rohr) and Called Out (Paula Faris). I find myself regularly unsubscribing from unhelpful or divisive podcasts (read: all news, political commentary and current event commentary) and adding those which are life-giving (Dream Big Podcast, Holy Post, The Next Right Thing). I’m highly curating my social media feeds … unfollowing people who leave me discouraged rather than uplifted and making generous use of the snooze button. I am intentionally and carefully choosing who and what I give my time to each day.
All this may seem elementary, but believe it or not, this thoughtful, selective and intentional way of taking in the world is new to me.
I’m thinking a lot more about the meaning of things. I was never one to dive deep with my thoughts. I have always loved the happy-go-lucky feeling of floating on the surface, face to the sunshine. But lately I find myself diving under more regularly. I’m seeking to understand context – learning people’s stories instead of simply judging their behavior. I’m spending time studying the Enneagram and expanding my view on things like true vs false self, core wounds and family of origin. You know … grown up things. Things that use more critical thinking and less gut reacting.
I’m just getting to know this new way of being – this new, midlife version of Becky. She is beautiful. She is learning to look back with true affection at her six-year-old self (bowl haircut at all.)
But she is also learning to recognize that while six-year-old Becky is, and always will be a part of her, 42-year-old Becky is so entirely different.
She is love-worthy not for what she can do or how much or little she fails or how she comes across to other people, but simply because of who she is.
God’s beloved. A soft warrior.
I cannot adequately express to you the freedom that is offered in embracing that truth. And to be honest, I’ve just barely begun to embrace it. I’ve just dipped my toes into the surf of the vast ocean of God’s unmerited love.
I suppose I wouldn’t be here if not for my first 42 years. My loyal soldier did her duty faithfully. But I am so thankful that I have (God willing) another 42+ years to explore this new me.
Because I really like her.