I turned 50 last month. It is supposed to be a big deal birthday with lots of reflection and pondering on life, both past and future. The world says that you’re an idiot if you don’t have your portfolio secured and a 2nd house by this time. It is not uncommon and practically expected in some circles to leave your wife with the minivan and get a new sports car and sports wife at this point. You should be in full control of your domain and rule from your corner office.
By all of the above standards, I am a mess.
What the heck happened to me in the last 10 years anyway? I remember my 40th birthday being pretty unpleasant. I was getting pudgy and I had to put coloring in my hair to hide the incredible amount of grey showing up. I was barely surviving financially covering the nice house, cool cars, kid’s activities, maid; the list was long and heavy. I was angry a lot, and sometimes it came out. I was attending church regularly, but it was barely affecting me. To be frank, I was scared of it. I was scripturally illiterate, and I had no idea how to bring Sunday morning into the rest of my life. It was in this time frame that I heard my son (then 10) answer someone who asked “what does your dad do?”, with “I don’t know, but he is gone all the time”. Ouch.
For my 40th, my wife threw me a really fun party at our house. There were lots of good friends there and it was a nice celebration. Despite my description above, I had much to celebrate. My beautiful and loving wife, fantastic children, a job to go to, and a very comfortable life. If you were a friend then, you would not have known much, if anything, about the previous paragraph. It was not acceptable to let anyone know about the cracks.
So what the heck happened to me in the last 10 years?
Just a few things.
-I met a new friend that introduced me to a book that changed my life.
-God spoke identity into me.
-I became a follower of Jesus Christ, instead of a Christian.
-Through the identity God gave me, I started speaking identity into my wife and children’s lives.
-God allowed me to realize that I owned my anger, and I broke the agreement that I was just an angry man.
-God woke me up to the realization that I had been trying to change my wife for years, instead of understanding how God made her uniquely, and celebrating that.
-God brought me into a band of brothers that offer the gospel to other men, and me.
-I learned true leadership from God through serious worldly hardship.
-God showed me how to lead my family through painful downsizing and difficult economic times.
-God blessed my family, my company, and my life with overwhelming love, grace and strength.
-God took me sailing.
For my 50th birthday my band of brothers treated me to a full on high dollar meat fest at one of those Brazilian steak places. It was a beautiful manly celebration. My family wrote me 50 notes that exclaimed reasons they love me and hid them in all the places that I might find them. I am still finding them. We had a simple celebration that weekend, and I will always remember my 50th birthday as being very pleasant. I am secure in Christ. He has taught me so much and is teaching still. My wife and children are radiant beams of light in my life, all reflecting God and growing in him, becoming more comfortable each day in their own identity. My hair is pretty grey, and I like it. By the world’s standard, it may not be looking too good for me, but for the Glory of God, the world will be a better place because I am in it. Cool.