Friday, January 22, 2010

Is it a midlife crisis if you're 29?

I was Facebooking an old friend from college a couple of days ago. His life, as he described it, couldn't be better. He has three wonderful kids, a law firm in his hometown. I struggled for words to encapsulate the last seven years. What had I done since college?

What came to mind? The unexpected.

I hadn't expected to be working with the same organization as my parents, raising financial support for our current ministry jobs like they do. I certainly didn't anticipate having four kids this close together, or the realities of being a stay-at-home mom for the most part. I definitely did not anticipate the minivan. There are times when I look at my daily tasks and marvel at the fact that I have a college degree.

I thought back to college: I imagined that by this point, I'd be saving the world in some wonderful-sounding way or another. Personally, I have a passion for the forgotten and the poor, and I thought I'd use some of my cross-cultural experiences. So I basically pictured myself far from this continent helping refugees or something.

Now, as my husband and I approach 30, I realize that as we choose certain paths, we are not choosing others. Windows that were once wide open are now not-so-wide. Did I compromise? Sell out? Maybe you're wondering, like me, How did I get here? Or maybe the question deep inside of that: Is my life special? Am I just another run-of-the-mill mom?

Please don't get me wrong. I don't regret my children or my marriage. And God has provided opportunities to serve Him in my part-time job that are amazingly tailored to the skills and gifts He's given me. But if good is the enemy of the best, which is this?

I still think it's a good question to ask at any point in life, if not simply to realign myself with what God wants. But I had to go back and look at how God brought me here. Yes, I could have signed on with a missionary organization after college, for instance, and gone off into the sticks in Africa. But my husband wasn't gifted or passionate in areas of overseas ministry—and quite frankly, I don't know how much of my desire to minister overseas was actually my own naive ideal that makes some occupations seem more sacrificing or more beautiful in God's sight (or at least other Christians').

As my husband and I walked down each path ... that led to the next path ... that led to the next, we asked God for wisdom. And as I was reminded this week in James,

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (1:5-8, emphasis mine)
And I have to remind myself that even in the times where I haven't asked for wisdom Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." I have a hunch that for now, God has me right where He wants me. And He will look at my life to see if I've been faithful to what He's asked me to do—not at whether or not it was spectacular (or holy-sounding).

Guess my life since college has only been unexpected for one of us.

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