I love the analogy of seasons to describe our lives. The glories of Autumn are filling my windows with a breath-taking view right now, but in a few weeks the leaves will be gone. Middle-age is often compared to Autumn, and it has peculiar temptations like every other season of life. So I hope this little post, though targeting women who are in lower-middle, middle-middle, upper-middle or over-the-middle age, will get us thinking about some of the common bumps in the road, so we can steer clear. (Of course, women of all ages can be tempted in many of these same ways.)
These are common temptations, nothing new or tricky.
1. Over-sharing can be a sin. It’s tempting to share more than we should. We may be looking for sympathy, but we have an obligation to love our children and our husbands, and we ought to maintain a nice hedge around our family and be loyal. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
2. Forgetting is a sin. We should not forget what we are called to do! This is a high-impact time of our lives, and we are to continue to affect our family culture and church culture by being focused and faithful women. We should be a powerful force for good.
3. We can become self-absorbed. Because our children are grown, we may have more time and more money to spend on ourselves. This is not a bad thing in itself if we manage it properly. But we must be good stewards of our time and resources. Working out in the gym is fine. A pedicure is great. But we must not get too absorbed in ourselves, our weight, our looks. God has important business for us to be about.
4. Worry is a still a sin whether we are new mothers or grandmothers. We should not pick up new things to worry over, like our health or our retirement or our finances.
5. Complacency in our spiritual duties is a sin. We can’t coast. We can’t let worldliness seep in via movies, gossip, magazines, and talk shows. We cannot let the world press us into its mold. It never lets up, no matter how old we are.
6. Distraction and discouragement. We should not listen to ourselves and get down on ourselves. That is not the Holy Spirit, but the flesh. Knock it off! Change the subject!
7. Envy is always deadly. Now more than ever we must not become envious of our friends, their successes, their travels, their husbands, their children or grandchildren, or their possessions.
8. Here’s a biggie: We cannot become fussers, wanting everything “just so” and becoming inflexible. We must open our hearts and our homes and surrender it all.
9. Discontent destroys our joy. The little things can add up. Our own hearts can lead us astray. Be content.
10. It is a sin to leave your post. To desert our homes to try and “find ourselves” is a fantasy. Stay on task. Don’t give up. Admire godliness more than worldly approval. Determine not to have any “mid-life” lurches.
Here are a few counter-measures.
1. Respect your husband more than ever. He needs it! He needs you! Obey him. In everything.
2. Continue to cultivate gratitude and loyalty.
3. Work hard. Don’t slack off.
4. Don’t be discouraged by these temptations. These are tests to prove our faith.
5. Don’t give sin any inroads.
6. Let us number our days that we might apply our hearts to wisdom (Ps. 90:12).
8. Learn something new. Volunteer to help someone.
9. Find out if your husband needs your help in a new way. He might. Be willing.
10. Feed your people. It’s simple. It takes loads of time. God likes it.