Here are questions everyone is asking. You may not phrase them exactly like this; you may not even have put them into words. These are the deep questions of the heart, the wonderings so profound that you feel them in your gut. When you hear the words your heart affirms, “Yes, that is what I am wondering about!”
The questions shift with your life stage, so the ones you wrestled with earlier in life sometimes fade under the intensity of the next stage. However, if you have not discovered an adequate answer to one of the earlier ones you will find they are still there, begging to be answered.
A deep wondering often happens at midlife, when so much of life is changing. By midlife you have experienced some significant blows, some hard enough to shake you to your core. We feel our lives shifting, which demands these questions be answered again, but this time with deeper insight.
I heard these questions from Gordon MacDonald at a retreat. I wrote in my journal about the retreat, “A rich feast from one who has paid attention to life’s lessons and been humble enough to receive the Lord’s discipline – and become wise.”
- Age 1-19 question: “Who am I and who am I becoming?” Category: Identity
- 20’s question: “What will I do with my life, and with whom will I do it?” Category: Direction
- 30’s question: “How do I manage all my responsibilities and commitments?” Category: Order
- 40’s question: “How do I come to terms with my limitations and possibilities?” Category: Reality check
- 50’s question: “What is my vision for the second half? Do I want to keep growing in depth and effectiveness, or have I gone as far as I want to go?” Category: Change and Intentionality
- 60’s question: “What does a person of my age and experience have to offer?” Category: Uncertainty
- 70’s question: “How do I handle the increasing sense of loss in my life?” Category: Grief
- 80’s question: “What can I offer a world that tends to regard me as feeble and obsolete?” Category: Living with obscurity
These are the deep questions of the decades of most people’s lives.As I looked over the questions I knew in my gut:
- The answers in each decade are in large part dependent on adequate answers from the earlier decades.
- The 40’s and 50’s are the big transition point from first to second half. This is the time we must have clear answers for the first three decades. These fundamental questions have to be adequately answered to navigate the last three decades well.
- The answers we thought we had in the earlier years are often lacking in depth and insight, and have to be wrestled with again.
- The inadequacies of our earlier answers are often revealed through crisis, failure or suffering. The hard life lessons drive our learning deeper. Perhaps this is what Hebrews 5.7-9 points to, and why God allows suffering and evil.
This is why CREST is focused on the midlife decades. While some can navigate these waters on their own, most people benefit from a guided process, with others in a safe community. This is exactly what CREST is about.