I have been fairly open over the past few months about the process I have been going through as I pass the 35 year mark. I have been evaluating every area of my life and trying to determine what to keep the same and what to change. I have been readdressing assumptions I have made. Analyzing my weaknesses and hang-ups. And most importantly, reevaluating my relationship with God.
In my search for resources, I stumbled upon someone who wrote a book about this very topic nearly 20 years ago. Bub Buford was a successful businessman who went on to create a non-profit organization and then wrote a book called Halftime.
The premise of his book is that life is like a football or basketball game. You excitedly start the game with a game plan and you fight hard to put it into practice. You learn about your opponent and how your strengths and weaknesses match up. But then the whistle blows and you get to go back to the locker room and regroup. You rest, drink some water, and huddle around the coach and the chalkboard to plan out the second half. Bob’s point is that our 20’s and 30’s and maybe 40’s are like the first half. We leave high school and plunge into college or the military or work. We claw our way through exams and evaluations and challenges as time after time we think to ourselves, “I don’t know – this is the first time I’ve ever done this!” And most of us over time find some areas where we have success. We find a few plays that work and begin to get some rhythm going. But as we reach our 30’s or 40’s or 50’s, depending on the person, we will all hit a point where, as he says it:
“When all you’ve done or own seems to matter less and your heart craves more meaning, joy and balance. When something triggers in your mind that you’re entering your second half of life and you’re unsure what your calling is for the next season…YOU’RE IN HALFTIME! Welcome.”
I highly recommend that this book should be read by anyone in their 30’s or later who has achieved a certain level of success in their career. If you are in your 30’s or early 40’s you will be able to make slow changes over time to prevent you from hitting a crisis moment. If you are in your 50’s or 60’s you still have time to make those changes, but you will need to act more quickly.
I won’t even try to summarize his book in this post because I want you to read it for yourself. However, I will give you two points from it:
Bob emphasizes that you can only have one first priority – either God or something else. He took a piece of paper, drew a box, and said “What is my most important priority?” He asks us, what do we put in that box? God? Career? Family?
Assuming you decide that God is your most important priority, he emphasizes that you don’t need to drop everything you have done or loved and become a monk or a nun. He emphasizes that if you have cultivated skills during your first half then you will probably want to use those in your second half. He says, “God has a wonderful plan for the second half of your life. You can serve him by doing what you like to do and what you are good at.”
So fellas, let’s consider in our own lives, “Are we putting Christ first?” And how can we bring our strengths and passion in line with God’s mission for our lives? As he says it, how will we move from success to significance?
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