"Life is difficult" as
my father once told me. Everyone has challenges at times. But
to a person in a "mid-life crisis," the problems have
seemed so deep, numerous, complex, and endless — it seems
as if they have found themselves in a massive snowstorm, a "whiteout"
or blowing blizzard. They can wonder, "If this is life,
is it worth living?" This can happen in a person's life
as early as teens and 20's, in mid-life in 30's through 50's,
and late in life at age 60 through 80's.
The first step in coming out of
this condition is to realize what got you into it. Typically,
there is a trigger. The trigger is an uncommon, disappointing
life event. It can be a divorce, spouse affair, death of a child/spouse/parent
or other loved one, job loss, retirement, house fire, financial
reversal, empty nest syndrome, health crisis, or the dashing
of any kind of dream/goal/hope. It could start from a catastrophe
like a spouse being killed by a drunk driver, to something as
small as noticing you are starting to get gray hair. Trace back
your feelings. Is there an obvious life event where it started?
Sometimes the trigger is more subtle, like life dreams that
appear to not be developing or maybe just unmet emotional needs
(absence of love, appreciation, respect, security).
The second step in coming out of
this condition is to get a safe person involved in your situation
who is not in your "blizzard" — one who can
see clearly enough to help guide you out (or at least can see
reality correctly for you). This person can be like an air traffic
controller who can give direction to a pilot flying through
fog or clouds. God said, "It is not good for
the man to be alone." (Genesis
2:18). This friend should not be of the opposite sex (unless
it is your spouse). However, sometimes your spouse may be experiencing
the same condition. This helpful person needs to be a spiritual,
selfless friend — lest he or she take advantage and steer
you in a way that is selfishly motivated. You may feel embarrassed
to open up and talk to someone about the feelings you are having
— but to do otherwise is pride and isolation (playing
right into the devil's hands). Women are better at talking things
out with a friend — which is probably why men are the
stereotype at having a mid-life crisis.
It should be pointed out that no
one needs to have a mid-life "crisis." It can simply
be a mid-life "re-evaluation." Some mid-course "corrections"
can be very valuable. Airplanes, boats, even Apollo moon shots
manned by the smartest people in America did mid-course corrections.
This condition only becomes a "crisis" if a person
turns to sin or suicide to deal with the feelings they are having.
If a person is burned out in his job, maybe feels his wife is
not cooperative, as well as disappointed in his kids' obedience
— and therefore might choose to divorce his family, buy
a sports car, and have an affair with his secretary, then that
person has just created a "crisis." But being burned
out in a job may just call for a time to change jobs or careers.
Disobedient kids can call for a time of re-evaluating your parenting
techniques. You get the idea.
The third step to coming out of
this condition is to get some Godly information on the topic.
"God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
4:6). If you were diagnosed with some disease, you should
naturally want to know more about it. If it was serious, you
should get 2 or 3 opinions from qualified experts. The same
is true for an early, late, or mid-life crisis. Denial accomplishes
nothing positive, and can delay the cure. And you don't want
to read some half-baked secular self-help psychology book that
tells you to "punch your pillow" or "go back
to your childhood" as the cure for truly dealing with the
loss, injustice, or anger in your life.
The fourth step is to go towards
the cure, not a bandage. Many people try to drown or numb their
feelings and pain with alcohol, drugs, food, materialism, workaholism,
busy-ness, even fantasy, to avoid reality. The true cure is
more of God — His presence, His anointing, His ways, and
His plan for your life. This is what we were designed to have
and be. This is true "healing." Nothing else will
fulfill or satisfy. Many people feel like if they just got their
job back, their money back, their spouse back, their health
or youth back, then they would be happy. This is an illusion.
People commit suicide regularly who are fully employed. And
the number three cause of death (after accidents and homicide)
in people aged 15 to 24 is suicide (in fact it is the number
one cause of death in men under age 35 in the United Kingdom).
So much for the notion that being young and healthy would fix
Jesus Christ is the Answer. He
is your Savior, healer, deliverer, restorer, sustainer —
He is the life of God. His eternal resurrection power, divine
nature, invisible attributes — these are already within
you if you are born-again. "Draw near to God
and He will draw near to you" (James
4:8). God is not trying to be distant, silent, or cold —
He is trying to be a gentleman (and honor your free will). God
says, "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and
show you great and mighty things, which you do not know"
33:3). Be totally honest with God and talk to Him about
your life, your hurts, your needs. Don't try to get "religious"
— trying to "please God through good works".
Get into God's Word — not to "work to please God",
but for fellowship, devotion, and strength. Get a Living Bible
and read Psalms
You will find that great men of God went through similar periods
in their lives — and came out of it with time. And it
does take time — often months, sometimes years. But the
circumstances which led to the condition often took months or
years to develop. So understand you can walk out of it with
time, but you need to be heading the right direction (God’s
will for your life) and at least making some progress each day.
And one of the most important keys
for overcoming burnout in general is forgiveness — both
giving and receiving. A pair of famous Christian psychiatrists
did an extensive study of people being treated for burnout in
their clinics, and the one common issue that they all had was
bitterness and unforgiveness. This is what was "short-circuiting"
their soul and draining all their emotional energy and drive.
There will always be people who allow the devil to use them
as "unforgiveness bait", but they will pay for their
17:1-5), and we don’t need to be bitter or try to
get even (Romans
12:17-21). We just need to "walk in love" and
keep our eyes on Jesus — the author and finisher of our
faith and His will for our lives.
Helping others back on track,
Dale & Judi Leander