I think I'm in the middle of a full-blown mid-life crisis RIGHT NOW!

by Mr. Invisible
(California)

I'm 37 years old and something has been happening to me in the last couple of months. For the last 13 years I've been on a pathway as a new Christian man learning to live closer to God. That makes this all the more confusing to me because I expect my faith to make me stable and understanding. My life is the complete opposite right now.


I've been a pretty good Christian too. I was in full-time paid ministry for about nine of those years and started my own non-profit to do mission work in foreign countries. I took my family to Central America for a couple years and completely relied on God to provide--which He did in so many miraculous ways. But, for some reason in these last few months it just feels like everything in my life is completely caving in or imploding.

My family and I recently moved to California to live someplace with a more mild climate. We have friends here so the move seemed to go pretty smoothly. But, I started to notice that I really didn't have a career path to follow. I was no longer in the ministry and found myself kind of scrambling for work. I decided to start my own retail store--it had been a dream of mine for a long time. So, a few months ago I did it. I went for it and now I have my little shop downtown. I've noticed that as a result of my store, I've also been changing a lot. My store brings me into contact with a lot of different kinds of people. I'm finding it refreshing to be around other people besides just the same old church crowd.

Then I started to notice that I was beginning to enjoy this kind of company even more than my church crowd. In fact, I made a decision to stop attending the church in town and I wanted to plant my own church because I felt like there was no real intimacy in the church. But, after a couple months of trying, it was going a little more slowly than I had anticipated and I felt like I was left all alone in a way. I had no church at all. I started recently to go back to the main church but I feel so unsatisfied. It's surprising me. I love what my church stands for but for some reason I can't stand hanging out there.

I feel like I just don't really fit in or relate to those people anymore. I feel like I'm relating more to the people I'm meeting through my store. I'm going to coffee shops for open mic and playing music. I'm kind of fitting in with a more alternative scene. As a result, I'm also starting to become friends with younger people--even people half my age. It doesn't feel strange. It's kind of exciting. I feel like I'm starting to live again.

The problem is, I still hold many of my values. I don't drink or use drugs or party like I used to before I was a Christian. My new friends seem to be a little bit into those things so I don't feel like I completely fit in with them. I wrote a song a couple weeks ago called, "Mr. Invisible". Mr. Invisible is described as floating through the clouds "somewhere in between". That's how I feel with everything. I feel like I'm somewhere in between being the Christian man I was and being in the group of new friends. I feel like I'm somewhere in between being a grown adult and being a young man. I feel like I'm somewhere in between a career and working random 9-5's.

I just feel so estranged from everything and can't seem to get a foothold on anything. This has brought so much confusion and tension. I've been depressed and grouchy. I've felt really detached from my wife and kids. I feel really bad about how I'm treating my kids because they are innocent victims of this whole thing. They're so sweet and clueless to what's going on with Dad.

My wife has been doing a really bad job of helping me with this. She hates my new hairstyle, my new friends, my new job, and my new attitude as she refers to it. I feel like she hates everything I'm becoming. But I feel like I just can't be true to myself if I simply go back to what I was for her sake. I'm searching for something but I just can't seem to find it. But, it won't let me go back either. I hope she will be patient with me. There is one really scary and unfortunate result of her unhappiness with me. I feel like I'm really vulnerable to finding the support I need from someone else.

I met a couple of girls at the open mic and we've been "hanging out". I had no interest in anything sexual or an affair or anything. I was just pursuing friendship with them. They were fun and I was enjoying making music with them and just playing around. Well, I feel like I might have developed a little crush on one of them. She seems to encompass the "excitement" I'm longing for. She's 20 and I'm 37. That seems so weird to me because it just doesn't feel like that big of a difference between us.

I felt like I should run from the situation because there is so much potential to screw up a lot of stuff. But, It's easier said than done. I'm not necessarily saying I want to have an affair, but I feel like I could fall into something stupid like that because my heart is just aching so badly right now. My mind is foolishly thinking that somehow a relationship with her might make me young and cool again. It's not like I'm a total loser or anything but it just feels like I want to go back to 20 again. It's just crazy!!

Here I am typing these words knowing exactly what is going on. It's easy to know what's right and to know what I should and shouldn't be doing. But, my heart is running wild and looking for excitement. I can't seem to tame it. When I do, I just sit at home bored and depressed like our dog when I put her in a crate for the night. It's so pathetic. So, the question is, "what do I do?" Do I just wait it out? How long? I feel like I'll go mad in the meantime! I'm looking for answers before I completely blow my life to bits!!

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Thanks
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your supportive words. I know you are right. I've been doing a bit better lately, but I fear it's far from over. The twenty year old found a boyfriend so that has kind of worked its way out thankfully. I'm getting over it, but I feel a sense of loss.

I feel pretty lonely. I just don't really seem to relate to the people I used to hang out with. It all seems so superficial and I want more meaningful relationships. I know how important they are but I just can't seem to find them right now for some reason. Anyway, I appreciate your reaching out to me and I'm hearing what said.

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Time out!
by: ForDads

Hello brother-
Thanks for pouring your heart out about where you are in your life right now. We share a lot in common. I served on the mission field with my family for 12 years, and now serve as a pastor in full-time ministry.

I think the whole "mid-life crisis" thing can be particularly disconcerting to believers, because we feel like we are lacking faith if we feel confused or depressed at this stage of life.

I want to encourage you to HANG IN THERE and do not do anything to jeopardize your wife or your kids...even if you wife does not seem supportive of these new changes in your life.

Forget the 20-year old. The crush will pass and you'll be over it. Recommit yourself to the wife of your youth. Recapture dreams together as husband and wife. Even though this new chapter of your life seems fresh and exciting, an even greater pleasure will be experienced as you choose SACRIFICE over SELFISHNESS. How can you serve the needs of your wife and children?

I want the best for you- I want God's best for you. That's why I'm being blunt here- RUN from the lure of this new life. Don't get isolated. Stay in the company of good Christian men who will cheer you on toward the right things- the things in life that matter most.

May the Lord bless you with a renewed passion for your wife and and family. Do the right thing- then the feelings will follow.

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