I am quickly approaching the date where I can no longer say I am 50. I’ll now be referred to as “in my 50s” or a “50 something”. I’m ok with that, because I’ve never really been ashamed or sad about my age. And after the events of my 50th year, I am quite ready to move forward!
As I get older, it has become important for me to reflect back on life, and in considering this past year, it wasn’t long before realizing that I have learned more about myself in the last twelve months than I have during much of my adult life.
Obviously this year hit me like no other due to the loss of my parents. I’m sure that I’m not the only person to lose a parent by this age, though it feels like it must be somewhat rare to lose both parents within such a short period of time (less than six months) – or at least I pray that is the case, as I wouldn’t want this for anyone!
Couple that grief with the loss and illness of a couple close family friends, as well as a few other difficult situations this past year, and I have definitely been stressed in more ways than one.
In thinking through it all, I find I have learned a couple of important things about myself – we’ll call them my “Epiphanies of 50”!
I wish I could say that this year showed me what a strong person I am. In truth, what I learned was almost the opposite. I am no where near as strong as I thought I was.
I worry more as I’ve gotten older. I can turn a mole hill into a mountain in under 60 seconds flat. That is not something I am proud of, but it is a truth that I have had to accept about myself.
As much as I would love to be everything to everyone and help everyone that needs help – I often become a detriment to myself just trying. I have had to learn the hard way that I can only do what I can and that I have to find peace in that truth!
For me, all of these “epiphanies” really point to one thing – CONTROL!
Most of my life I have put pressure on myself to always be in control. The truth is that full control is an illusion. You may think you have the situations of life handled, and then out of nowhere, you are blindsided. At times, you find yourself spread so thin – working to control everything in your life, and maybe even in others – that you start to break. You realize that no matter how hard you try you cannot control everything and that is when depression and sadness take over.
So maybe my real epiphany has been that I can’t control everything. I couldn’t control my parent’s situation, or their sudden deaths, any more than I can control the weather. And in trying to convince myself otherwise I just made my situation worse.
I am learning to figure out what I truly have control over versus what I don’t. For instance, I can’t change what situations come up, but I can change how I react to them. I can’t change the things that happen to me, my family or friends, but I can find ways that I might be able to help or provide support to them through those situations. I may not be able to prevent life’s blows, but I can be compassionate toward the people who are affected by them.
Most importantly, I can learn to trust that God is in control of all these things that I allow to consume me!
I’m still dealing with my worry issues – a work in progress, we’ll say. Worry has caused me a myriad of health issues, and so I must find a way to better deal with it. In Luke 12:25-26, Jesus tells us “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” This may be my go-to verse for this coming year. Through prayer and faith, I hope to look back next year and say I had progress in this area as well!
And as for my weakness – well, I have found more strength in my weakness than I ever found in pushing myself to be strong. It is in that weakness that I found myself leaning more on my relationship with my Heavenly Father, which has made so much of a difference for me. He has given me strength and comfort when I could not find it anywhere else. He opened my heart to allow others in, when I wanted nothing more than to curl up and hide. And I feel He may be drawing me to a purpose, which I have been searching and waiting for.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Epiphanies are an interesting and wondrous thing. May I always be open to seeing and understanding them as I make my way through my 50s!