Sometimes when we think about a problem, there is a tendency–a knee jerk reaction–to immediately come up with a solution, a fix. And sometimes that’s the right course in circumstances that require an immediate fix. But most do not. Most problems will require slowing down, listening, and noticing how you’re reacting. Some defaults include avoiding the issue, reacting too fast to it, or figuring out how to avoid the pain of it.
Fixing issues can also become addictive. I can become an addiction so to speak. We’re so fixated on fixing the issue for the sake of the “fix”, not so much to address the real underlying issues.
In this state, we bypass wisdom and instead want to solve the issue at whatever means necessary. This has caused more problems in my life. Someone yesterday said, “Americans’ don’t like to hear ‘NO'”. He was very right. I don’t like to hear NO. So I find ways to get my way. And this is where the addiction type behavior starts.
Fantasizing about fixes.
Going through different scenarios and options.
Trying to play it all out in our imagination.
When my mind goes to these places, it’s time to SLOW DOWN, to pay attention to what I most need to do in that moment: SURRENDER. Pause. Listen.
Psalm 102 (NRSV)
23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.”
Recently, I’ve been parallel reading the New Revised Standard Version with the New International Version. I hadn’t realized how much more I like the NRSV. For example, in today’s reading, I came across the verse above. Just yesterday, I was talking to someone about midlife.
What I’m learning about midlife is that the set of rules that worked for the first half of life (mainly survival and identity making) no longer work. In the MIDPOINT of life, it seems that if one wants to have a deeper spirituality and relationships, we must undergo what happens in v.23:
“he has broken my strength in midcourse…”
The first half of life strength seems to be broken in midlife. The rules seem to change. The desires seem to rumble for something more, something deeper. Like strength and motivation are zapped. And it’s at this point that the writer asks for a new strength.
“Don’t take me away at the midpoint of my life.”
It feels like there is a death happening and we wonder if there will be a new birth, a new season, a new life. God is an enduring presence throughout all generations. In some ways, we want our lives to be enduring in the midpoint of our lives.
I pray for that today.