X Marks The Spot


“You Are Here”

I have spent quite a bit of time in reflection over the last 6 months.  Not because I particularly want to, but because I have needed to.  A couple weeks ago I introduced you to the questions that I’m wrestling with here in my 35th year.  I told you that I feel as if what got me here won’t get me where I need to go.  I am planning to write several posts about this idea, but the first question I want to answer is:  “How did I get here?”

One of the answers to this question came to me when I was at a Wild at Heart retreat in early March.  After one of the sessions I was sitting in the spring sun, thinking, praying, and reflecting.  We had 45 minutes of free time to spend in reflection, and I wondered when was the last time that I had sat quietly for 45 minutes listening to God.  It certainly has been a while, maybe years.

That’s not good.

I really enjoyed the 4 day retreat – it was amazingly refreshing, and it reminded me of the InterVarsity week-long camps we attended during college at the end of each school year.  They were a chance to refocus and refresh my spirit, soul, and body.  A time to rekindle my passion and purpose.  When is the last time I have taken 4 consecutive days to do that?  Again, it had been years since I have been so purposeful in taking time to seek God, refocus, and refresh.

That’s not good.

I’m No Slacker

It’s somewhat of a paradox, because my twenties and first five years of my 30’s have been a time of great growth in all areas of my life.  I don’t want to give the impression that I have completely ignored my spiritual life all these years.  I feel like I have grown and matured in my spiritual life and in my soul life.  (Not so much my physical life, but I’m working on that!)  So it’s not like I have been completely adrift during these years.

But the fact remains that I attended a week of camp every summer from junior high through college, and then abruptly stopped doing that.  The fact remains that I have lost some of my passion for the things I used to love.  The fact remains that even if I have maintained my spiritual, psychological, and physical fitness, life has brought a lot more responsibilities and pressures.  As old Tom Callahan said, “You’re either growing or you’re dying – there ain’t no third direction.”  I think that maybe this is the place in life where my readiness has been overtaken by responsibilities.  I am an Excel nerd, so I graphed out the 2 lines on this graph.  The X marks the spot:


Responsibilities and Pressures

For a lot of guys, the mid to late thirties is where the pressure really starts to build.  We have been in our field for a decade or more now, and we have started to have some success.  Many of us have built families, bought homes, and accumulated some stuff.  People have started asking us to serve on committees or boards, or to lead in some way or another.  Our financial pressures have grown, either because we don’t have enough or because we have even more to take care of and the stakes are higher.  There are more people depending on us.  Another problem is that our years of mistakes, sins, and chosen coping mechanisms have started to leave some scars behind, taking a toll on the fitness of our souls.  Some of the things we have kept hidden and buried deep inside of us have started to bubble up to the surface due to the pressures and the time.

Even if we are maintaining our fitness or gaining, the pressures and responsibilities are catching up fast:

If we are honest with ourselves and take the time to reflect, I think a lot of us have this feeling:

What got us here won’t get us out!

So what do we do?

We Aren’t the First

In Revelation there is a passage where God tells a group of people that they have lost their passion.  In order to get it back, they need to do a series of things:

  1. Remember
  2. Repent
  3. Do the work


But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first;
or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

Revelation 2:4-5 (NASB)

Reverse the Graph

In the graph above, it is a crucial time for me to reverse the downward trend of the blue line.  This is the time for me to recover my passion.  To recover my passion for God, for the adventure He has for me, the adventure of life, and for my wife and kids.  It’s time for me to remember the love I had for Him (and her) years ago when I was still naive, before I knew any better.   It’s time for me to repent of the life I have chosen, and choose to do what it takes to get to where I need to be.  It will take time, and I will have to be purposeful.  It is not too late…in fact, it is exactly the right time!

Remember, I’m looking for allies and answers.  Who wants to join me?

Questions:  What have you invested in your spirit, soul, and body recently?  Is that enough to keep you ahead of the demands?  What could you do today, this month, and this year to make sure that you are preparing yourself for even more responsibility?

 Other Resources:


OPL: Mid-Life Series 1 – Allies and Answers


OPL: Mid-Life Series 3 – From Duty to Desire and Devotion


OPL:  Mid-Life 4 – Tower of Babel or Excavation

OPL: Mid-Life 5 – Weary Warrior

OPL: Mid-Life 6 – Pleasure

OPL: Mid-Life 7 – You Need Nathan

OPL: Mid-Life 8 – Shame, Validation, and Identity

OPL: Mid-Life 9 – Halftime


Wild at Heart Bootcamp

3 thoughts on “X Marks The Spot

  1. Amy says:

    I’ll be an ally! I feel I’m at the same stage in life and need to do some adjustment! 🙂

  2. Tom says:

    I hit a giant invisible wall when I was 39. Before the wall turned me into the proverbial “bug on the windshield”, my life was push, push, push, sleep, repeat. After my wife and doctor scraped my remains off the giant invisible wall, and after some quiet meditation, it occurred to me that change was mandatory. If I wanted to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up, my approach to life required immediate change. So, instead of living from task to task, project to project, crisis to crisis, it was time to set some rules to live by. At 52, I’m reaping the benefits from the changes that my wife, doctor, and God helped me make.

    1. Nate says:

      Thanks Pastor Tom, this is so encouraging!

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