By Dolores Smyth, Crosswalk.com
If you’re middle-aged, you know all about the joys and tribulations that make up midlife. On the one hand, midlife can usher in a well-deserved time of career and financial stability. Midlife is also when many people let go of petty insecurities and embrace the wisdom of quality over quantity when it comes to everything from time to friendships to possessions.
On the other hand, midlife can also be a time of high stress, riddled with impatience, fears, and depression. This is partially due to the fact that many middle-aged people (defined as approximately between the ages of 45 to 65) are either raising young children or financially supporting grown children. Over one-in-ten of these middle-aged people are also members of the “sandwich generation,” meaning that they are supporting an elderly parent in addition to caring for their own kids.
It’s no wonder that middle-aged people who spend their days running their lives while caring for others often feel overwhelmed and undervalued.
As you juggle all of your obligations in midlife and the conflicting emotions that come with them, remember the importance of minding your mood. Make it a point to take a breather to get your bearings and turn to Scripture to get perspective.
Here are 4 verses to help uplift you when the weight of midlife pulls you down.
1. An Encouraging Verse to Tame Impatience
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
To be “righteous” means to be upright and decent. God wants us to be righteous with Him by following His Word. God also wants us to be righteous with each other by treating one another with integrity and fairness. This integrity and fairness can be hindered when we let impatience taint our words and deeds.
There’s no doubt that we, as a society, have grown more impatient with the advent of the Internet and the ability to get most of the information we seek within seconds from a device we carry in our pockets. This impatience comes with a price, however, as we are more likely to lash out at loved ones, co-workers, and even strangers who don’t give us what we want an instant after we ask for it.
To tame your edgy unwillingness to wait, be aware of what triggers your impatience and see what measures you can take to better handle or outright avoid those triggers. When you do find yourself in a situation where your impatience is rearing its ugly head, shift your energy to finding a solution to the issue at hand. Being solution-oriented lets you step out of the helpless feeling that impatience wraps you up in and leads you toward a calmer, more productive state.
2. A Reassuring Verse to Root Out Resentment
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Whenever there are many tasks to be done, there will be someone who feels like they’re doing the lion’s share of the work. In those cases, it can be easy to develop ill-will toward the person whom we believe isn’t pulling their weight. This may be a spouse who skips out on household duties or a sibling who never seems to have time to lend Mom or Dad a hand.
Many a person in midlife will recognize this scenario and it can be easy to start keeping score of who does what. No matter how justified you may be, put away the scorecard. Someone always comes up short when you make comparisons, and that does nothing to honor your marriage or your relationship with your siblings. Holding onto resentment only destroys your own peace, as the saying goes: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Instead of letting a grudge take root, talk to the person you resent and see if they’ll address the issue effectively. If not, then you have no choice but to accept that person’s shortcomings and live with doing more of the work. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t make the person you’re caring for “pay” for the other person’s failings by refusing to do what needs to be done yourself. In other words, don’t mirror the behavior you’re complaining about. Like Scripture counsels, don’t tire of doing good and keep your eyes on the harvest that awaits you in the end.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet
3. A Fortifying Verse for When You Fear Death
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4).
Once you enter middle age, you may find yourself increasingly more afraid of death—your own as well as that of those whom you love. Even if you’re a believer who looks forward to heaven, you can still be scared of what breathing your last breath may look like.
You fear your death not only for your own loss of life, but for those you leave behind and how your passing will affect them. You also notice how your parents have aged, and you fret over the amount of time you think they have left despite knowing that only God knows the number of our days (Psalm 139:16). Even more frightening is the thought of your children dying, which is a thought most parents vigorously push away as unimaginable.
Yet, you know that we will all face death, whether that means dying ourselves or coping with the death of another. For times when you’re fearful of death, meditate on Jesus’s words in the above Scripture. Christ’s promise that He will take all of His believers to be with Him in God’s house is fortifying for times when we need to let go of the fear and accept the unfolding of God’s plan.
4. A Comforting Verse to Soothe Depression
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3).
As we age, we live through all sorts of changes, some of which can be flat-out depressing! Middle-aged people report being depressed over their looks, their health, their career choices, or the state of their relationships with friends and family.
Depression can be all-consuming and can feel like you’re constantly wading through the heavy mud of regret and sorrow. However, as the Psalmist sings, you can turn to God during these moments of upset and wait for Him to turn His attention to your cries for help.
This help can come in the form of feeling renewed hope for your situation, or in the form of changed circumstances. God also sends help our way in the form of people who enter our life to help pull us out of the mud and mire of depression that has ensnared us for too long.
Aging is bittersweet. As we age, we get to see many of our dreams become reality and get to see our children grow and reach for their own stars. But we also face difficulties that can knock the wind out of us. In those instances, lean on Scripture to revive your spirit and find the peace to overcome the troubles of this world.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Daisy-Daisy
Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.