I turned 55 this year. It is a wonderful and dangerous place to be. Wonderful because I have accumulated a great deal of experience and paid a lot of dumb tax that hopefully I don't have to pay again. I have learned faith the hard way through many tough times. I have stared death in the face twice and it blinked (God was gracious) and have learned first hand His power and sovereignty. Things that were hard in the past are easier. I have a bank account of God's faithfulness that sustains me when facing uncertainty today.
I know a lot less than I did when I was young but what I know I know with greater certainty. Not needing to know everything is liberating. I have been humbled enough times to be comfortable with an attitude of "nothing to prove, nothing to lose," which frees me to be me. I know that I have a few strengths and everything else are weaknesses - and I am not only OK with that but glad that I can focus on who God made me to be.
Fewer things cause me anxiety or worry. I have learned greater patience and rely more on God's power than I used to. I do less and let Him do more. I focus on fewer things with greater focus. It is a wonderful place to be.
But also dangerous - because it would be easy to coast on past experience, lessons learned, dumb tax paid, past faith and not press into life with the same passion and energy as the first half.
Just today I received this prayer from a friend: "Lord, would you make my brother TJ bold for you. Help him not to be satisfied with what you have allowed him to do but rather to look to you for still more opportunities to proclaim the wonders of the gospel. Make him fruitful this day for the Kingdom."
I don't want to settle! I would love to go slower and more wisely, taking full advantage of all I have learned and experienced but I don't want to settle! If anything, I would love to have more impact than I had in the past - in line with the gifting God has graciously given me. So I fight the urge to rest on the past and lose the willingness to risk and press into even greater faith.
Ironically, I think it is easier to risk when we are young because we don't know all the implications of that risk. As we get older we understand more fully what risk means. Thus it takes more faith as we age to take the risks we once took for granted. And perhaps more intentionality.
It also takes more humility not to be fooled by success and believe that it is about us. It is not: it is fully about God. Or to think we have accomplished what we have by our wisdom and power. That is why I surround myself with friends who tell me the truth and are also pressing on.
I don't want to settle. You?