By Dr. Dan Reinhardt

At CREST we’ve been working with midlife leaders for ten years. Studying midlife … teaching … dialoguing … coaching … experiencing the journey ourselves. Paying fierce attention to midlife matters has helped us develop clarity around this issue.  Here’s one thing we have noticed: everyone that signs up for CREST expresses one or more of these feelings: (Note: these comments come directly from students, actual quotes)

    • Sensing a transition is coming
    • Feel disoriented about my role
    • Feel “stuck” in numerous levels of my leadership as well as relationship capacity
    • Feeling restless – a sense of desperation, a search for something more
    • I am living and leading without a vivid picture
    • Want to finish well in senior years
    • Need passion renewed
    • I desire to have life count but cannot run faster
    • I have plateaued in my self-directed studies
    • Want to invest in a learning opportunity that could transition into something else

These feelings often have an uncomfortable sense to them. Humans enjoy being comfortable, so when we feel uncomfortable, we are motivated to do something about it, to return to comfort. And therein lies the good about uncomfortable feelings: they are a motivation to change.

If everything is just fine, we tend to resist change. But that means we are not growing.  Growing, developing, maturing – these are all actions that require change. And change is exactly what we need to do at mid-life. Because we all reach plateaus in our development.

A plateau usually comes somewhere in mid-life. Our understanding of God and life has been built out of our interpretation of the curriculum called ‘Life.’ At mid-life we have learned all we can with that level of understanding. Our first-half-of-life interpretations have brought us to where we are, but have proven inadequate; we now need to go deeper. And that requires change – a deepening of our understanding of God, of ourselves, of life.

The good news about midlife is that your best years are actually ahead of youif you make the changes necessary to move on up. So God allows (brings?) uncomfortableness into our lives to spur us on, to motivate us to think again. It is a gift from Him, an invitation to go deeper.

One more item that has come clear to us at CREST: God intends good for all of us. The good He intends is not material wealth, perpetual youth and a life of ease; it is something far more precious than that. It is the development of your spirit, the maturation of your soul. It is the ‘conforming to the image of Christ’ (Romans 8.29) that He intends; and it is good indeed.

This good is not easily attained. There is a cup to drink, a journey to take. This deeper wisdom is not a quick or easy process. So don’t avoid the uncomfortableness; enter into it, experience it, process it. It is the journey to good things. The research tells us that 3 out of 4 people would really benefit with a guided process for the journey.  That’s what we do in CREST.

So our CREST student comments like “Sensing a transition coming,” or “Feel stuck, restless,” and “I desire to have life count” are wonderful expressions that come from the prodding in their soul by the Spirit of God. Whenever I hear someone express these feelings I get excited … because I know these people are being called up to a whole new level, and that they are about to embark on their best years!