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Applying faith to midlife fears

I want to talk about hard stuff today. Fair warning, because if you are in a season where life is going well, this read might not feel encouraging. If, however, you are weathering some of life's storms and struggling to accept what those storms are bringing your way right now, I hope this will encourage you.

Midlife and the empty nest is not a season for the faint of heart. Research shows what we already know--life can get tough. As moms, we are adjusting to our new role with our adult children. As children, we are watching our parents age and become less independent. As couples, we are figuring out what midlife intimacy in all its forms will look like. Physically, we are experiencing hormonal changes (yes, even men go through this) and we are adjusting to the effects those changes have on how we feel in and about our bodies.

Change can spark fear, and there is plenty of change going on in midlife. Maybe you are already in a situation that causes fear of the future. As someone who lives with a cancer diagnosis, I can become fearful and upset at just the thought of an upcoming blood test or imaging study, not to mention fear of what the cancer may do in the future. If we allow fear to invade our thoughts at midlife, there are plenty of unknowns for it to feed on.

But living in fear is not living! And I want to live the abundant life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10. Choosing faith over fear is one of the five mindset habits I'm working on in 2024 (you can see the entire list here), and it is one of the most challenging for me to cultivate. I think that's because choosing a mindset of faith in God's plan and provision for my life involves surrendering many of my own desires and dreams in order to fully embrace what God has called me to do and be in this season.

I have my own ideas of what I want life to look like, but my ideas don't always match up to the circumstances that God brings my way. I can choose to fight for my own desires out of fear of missing out. Or, I can launch myself fully into God's plan, trusting that His ways are even better than anything I could dream up on my own. Living in faith means I choose to trust.

For a few days now, I've been twisting my mind to wring out the essence of why I should trust God's plan for my future. I could make a theological argument about God's sovereignty. I could make a logical argument about how it's better to walk through life with God than without, given that struggles are inevitable. I could say that my friends who live lives of faith have proven that following God is a better choice. I could even say that the Bible tells me so, and all of these are true.

But in the end, it comes down to having experienced God's sustaining power in every trial I have encountered, whether I was expecting it or not, whether I asked for it or not, and whether I was even aware that it was God carrying me through. It's because of who He is that I can trust, that I can release my fears to Him, that I can lay down my burdens and let Him carry them for me. God Himself is the reason that I can live in faith and not fear.

We can choose faith over fear simply because of who God is. The same God who said to Joshua, "Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go," says to us, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Joshua 1:9 and Matthew 28:20). I need that reassurance now, in this midlife season, more than I have in any other season of my life.

Be strong and courageous, friends! Cultivate a mindset of faith with me this year, and together we will experience the presence of Christ with us, our friend and companion on this journey through the midlife years.


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