Do you often find yourself saying, “There’s got to be more to life than this!” or asking yourself, “Is this all there is?” Are you dissatisfied with your life most days and feeling little hope for things getting better? Even as a woman of faith, you might be experiencing a Christian midlife crisis.
What is a Christian Midlife Crisis for a Woman?
In the simplest description, a midlife crisis is a time of transition in your life when you’re feeling unfulfilled in the present and longing for a more satisfying future. This persistent state of being causes undesired thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and symptoms that negatively impact your life both inside and out.
Merriam_Webster defines “crisis” as “an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life”. But the definition that resonates with me most and is listed as related to a literary plot is “the decisive moment”.
I love this meaning because our life is a story. And as believers, our life is not just our own story, but is a part of God’s story. So what does this mean for you if you’re struggling with a partial or full crisis in midlife?
It means that your story is not done yet. It means that your story is not a merely human written story. It means that you are not alone and you have divine direction and power available to you to help shape the next chapters of your story into what God has purposed for you!
So when self-defeating thoughts and feelings begin to whisper in your ear during midlife, the perspective you should hold onto is that they don’t dictate your present or future, but they create a decisive moment–a moment of choice.
In the moments that these thoughts and feelings come up, you can either decide to accept and keep repeating the negative picture they’re painting about your story. Or you can choose to seek what God is saying about you, your life and your future and write your story with God’s truth, wisdom, and promises. What you choose determines your inner and outer experience.
What are the signs?
A midlife crisis research study showed that about 13% of women reported having a midlife crisis. But though there isn’t a larger percent of the population that self reports experiencing a full crisis in the midst of midlife, some of the traits that show up in a crisis can express themselves in various ways in your life for other reasons.
But when they linger, hinder forward movement, and steal your peace, hope and joy, it’s time to take inventory of your inner and outer life and take steps to address these symptoms. You may wonder what are the signs of a midlife crisis. Some of the most common signs may include…
- Feeling hopeless or having a negative outlook about the future
- Questioning past choices you’ve made and feeling regret or guilt
- A sense of feeling bored, restless, or unmotivated
- Uncertainty about your identity, legacy, or contribution to the world
- Comparing to others, self-doubt, and focusing on what you consider failures
- Experiencing worry, depression, anxiety, or fear about the future
- Feeling stuck, empty, or like you’re just wandering through life
- Sadness, overwhelm, exhaustion, physical symptoms, or mood swings
Because experts say that midlife crisis and depression can look similar in some ways, if you’re struggling to resolve these types of experiences in your life, it’s wise to seek support to clarify the cause of the thoughts, feelings, and actions.
For believers, since we have physical bodies in this physical world, a Christian midlife crisis would have the same possible signs, but it may also include spiritual struggles such as…
- Inability to maintain feelings of God’s peace and joy
- Believing you don’t have a special purpose
- Thinking God is disappointed with you and your life
- Feeling like God is not helping you in your time of need
- Finding it difficult to focus on thanksgiving
- Doubting God’s promises apply to you and your life
It becomes more likely that you will experience these signs when you’re writing your story based on the scripts that come from your flesh, other people’s opinions, or the world’s expectations–instead of God’s Word and will for you in some areas of your inner or outer life.
What is it caused by?
You may be wondering what triggers midlife crisis. Besides hormones or other biological or psychological challenges, it can be caused by any number of situations in the busy and stressful lives women often lead as we juggle it all trying to be good stewards over all of our responsibilities.
As a Christian woman, you play many important roles caring for your family, managing your household, working in a home business or career outside of the home, managing finances, and serving in your church and community, all while trying to fit in self-care for your physical, emotional and mental health, nurturing relationships, problem solving, and so much more.
Feelings of crisis can start to build up when even more challenging life circumstances and mindsets come into the mix of all of your daily responsibilities, such as…
- General dissatisfaction with life
- Feeling worn from stress and pressures
- Disappointments and regrets in life
- Empty nest syndrome from children becoming independent
- Feeling disconnected from your husband
- Loss and grief from divorce or death
- Concerns about aging
- Health problems or chronic pain
- Not feeling useful or a sense of significance
- Caring for children with special needs
- Caring for aging parents
- Loneliness or isolation
Some may believe that midlife crisis and the Christian can’t co-exist. However, in addition to these causes above, a crisis can often also be caused or intensified due to spiritual challenges– such as if you need to…
- Better understand or live in alignment with your identity in Christ
- Gain clarity of your God-given purpose so you have clearer direction in life
- Avoid filtering circumstances through a human view point, and embrace a Biblical perspective to renew your mind to align with God’s truth
- Still surrender some areas of your character or life to the Lord to be more closely aligned with His will for you in daily life
- Increase intimacy with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to more easily recognize God’s presence, voice, and guidance
With all of the things pulling us in different directions and pressing on our hearts and minds, as Christian women we are not totally immune to experiencing this issue. However, the closer your walk with God and the more you apply Biblical principles, the more equipped you will be to work on avoiding or overcoming this condition that affects the heart, mind, body, and spirit.
What Does the Bible Say About Midlife Crisis?
So what is the Christian perspective on midlife crisis? A Christian midlife crisis becomes more of a risk for you as a woman when you look at your story from the human perspective instead of the Christian or godly perspective.
Your default thought process about a life you’re not satisfied with may be to do whatever it takes to seek to escape your life to pursue personal happiness and worldly success. However, God desires for you to seek deeper intimacy with Him, pursue His purposes for you in all areas of your life, and invite Him into every situation you experience in the present, and trust Him with your future.
The things in this world can bring a sense of happiness, but it’s conditional and temporary. True fulfillment can only be achieved when you follow God’s plan for your life. Veering off path or rushing ahead of God’s plan to seek identity and meaning based only in the world will cause more issues as time progresses.
So if seeking things in the world is not the best path to take, and with so many undesirable signs that can negatively impact so many areas of your life, you’re probably wondering what the Bible says about how to survive a midlife crisis.
God’s Word doesn’t specifically say the phrase “midlife crisis”, but the Bible speaks to how to be proactive to prevent and how to be intentional to respond when the pressures and problems of the world begin to stir up these unhealthy thoughts and feelings.
It is possible to live in peace and joy because these are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 NIV) and not dependent upon circumstances, but rather on your connection to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 14:27,16:33 NIV)
Beyond your own human efforts, it’s most important to remember “his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”. (Ephesians 1:19-20 NIV)
So no matter what circumstances in life are disappointing to you, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”! (Romans 8:37 NIV)
Here are just 7 of many instructions God’s Word gives on what to seek that will help you live a life free from the weight of a midlife crisis:
1) Seek God in prayer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
2) Seek to do God’s will
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~Philippians 4:9 NIV
3) Seek a godly mindset
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2 NIV
4) Seek to see yourself as God sees you
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:13-14 NIV
5) Seek the dreams God’s planting in your heart
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Proverbs 13:12 NIV
6) Seek life balance
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. ~Ecclesiastes 4:6 NIV
7) Seek supportive relationships
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a NIV
Make it a priority to learn and follow God’s Word and to deepen your spiritual walk so that you can develop the heart of God and mind of Christ, as well as discern the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The more you see, approach, and respond to life through God’s perspective, the more peace, joy and fulfillment you will experience, even in the middle of trials.
7 Practical Steps to Overcome a Christian Midlife Crisis
So many changes and challenges in life can negatively affect your thoughts, feelings, and physical body: children becoming independent, starting to feel like your role at home or work is no longer a fit for you, retiring from a career and no longer feeling useful or knowing what your contribution is to the world, struggling with chronic pain and illness, loss and grieving, feeling worn out from caregiving, and more.
With so many possible causes of a Christian midlife crisis, you’re surely asking, “How do you overcome a midlife crisis?” The best defense is often a strong offense, so preventing a midlife crisis in the first place would be ideal. The good news is that the steps for avoiding a midlife crisis as well as how to get out of midlife crisis are the same. It just may take some more time and effort to resolve if you’re already being burdened by the symptoms and need to replace them with what God desires for you.
If you allow yourself to just wander and wonder through life, just settling and going through the motions, you definitely will struggle to maintain feeling content. And just letting life happen also makes it more difficult for you to align with God’s vision for your life.
Your story doesn’t have to be defined by your past. Your story does not have to stay on the same page it’s on right now. Your life doesn’t have to continue to follow the current storyline in the future.
Your story may have parts of it you wish were different. For the parts you can’t change, God will help you to view His perspective and live victoriously through those challenges. And for the pieces that can change, He will guide you in writing the next pages. Your life story will be most fulfilling and impactful if you embrace the story God is writing for you and fulfill His purposes.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NIV
The key to avoiding and overcoming midlife crisis as a Christian woman is purposeful living. This means being intentional in the way you live your life and also letting God’s purposes guide you in all areas of life.
In addition to working on the spiritual side of things by renewing your mind to embrace what God’s Word says about you and your life, it’s important to also take practical steps to transform yourself and your life from the inside out.
Below are 7 practical steps guiding you on how to overcome a Christian midlife crisis so you can live with more passion, confidence, and impact as you seek to align with God’s plan for you.
1) Assess where you are in all areas of your life right now
Write down what’s going well. Then list what’s not going so well and why you think so. Be honest and thorough about what the obstacles are in the areas of life you are dissatisfied with. My free Purposeful Living Assessment & Reflections Guide would be a simple and useful tool to guide you in evaluating 5 major areas of your life and planning some doable steps to make changes to move closer to God’s vision for you.
2) Invite God into your situation trusting Him to guide you
Come near to God and he will come near to you. ~James 4:8a NIV
It may be natural for you to pray for things you need. However, beyond praying to God, you can partner with God in both the spiritual and practical to move forward in your life. Being intentional to grow in intimacy with God will help you to more clearly discern His thoughts and ways to apply to your life.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
Pray over and partner with God in all of the areas of your life: spiritual life, physical health, self-care, mindset, personal growth, relationships with family and friends, work in your role within or outside of the home, finances, time management, life balance, recreation, etc…
Give thanks for those areas that are working and ask for help in those that are not working. If the obstacles hindering the areas that need improvement are in your heart, mindset, or habits, ask God to help you to transform. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV)
If what’s blocking progress is related to another person or life circumstance, submit this to the Lord for guidance in what you can do, even if it’s something you don’t have control over.
3) Write a new vision for each area of life that needs transformation
Without a vision of what you want your life to be, you won’t have clear direction to move forward. Having a vision that comes from God will allow you to make choices that lead you toward His plans for your life and what’s a fit for who you are, rather than just letting life happen.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
For each area of life where you feel discontent, seek God’s will and vision for you. Write in detail what a renewal of that area of life will look like, feel like–how life will be different because of the transformation.
4) Make a plan to make changes in one life area at a time
As you make your new vision a reality, you will notice your Christian midlife crisis begin to resolve. But for real, lasting change to happen, it’s necessary to develop a plan to reach your goals and allow God to give you direction and strength to carry out the action steps to reach them. “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)
Select the one area that you feel God is leading you to change. If you’re not sure, then pick the one that will make the biggest difference right now that is also something you are able to start taking action on.
Set goals in that area, as well as doable, small action steps to work toward those goals. Anticipate any internal or external obstacles that may potentially hinder your progress and plan in advance how you will address them if they come up. Set up support and accountability as needed.
Once this area of life is progressing, repeat this process for the next area of life. Or if this area of life is not progressing, it’s ok to select another area for now. Only focus on more than one area at a time if you’re able to do so without overwhelm or throwing life out of balance.
5) Engage in your passions and try new things
Your life is meant to have harmony between work, rest, and enjoyment. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) And Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NIV) states, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil–this is the gift of God.” So it is God’s will for you to find ways to fill your soul.
Take time to reflect on what things you know or think might light you up, make you feel alive. Identify things you used to enjoy (even as a child!) that you haven’t made time for and integrate them into your life again if you think you’d like to do them. Try new things that you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t stepped out to do yet that may be relaxing, interesting, or fun.
Be intentional not to get stuck going through the motions of life without taking time to enrich your life inside and out. Engaging your passions is a form of self-care that’s important if you’re in the midst of a Christian midlife crisis. And if you don’t know what they are, take time to explore on your own or with others, online or in person, dipping your toes in the water or diving all the way in!
6) Connect with like-minded people
God created us to be in fellowship with other people and we’re called to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). So when you walk with others who allow you to be yourself, have your best interest at heart, and provide genuine support, it makes the good times better and helps you get through the tough times.
Find ways to connect with people who are like-minded in faith, in passions, and interests, or in roles at home or work, or that have other things in common that would enrich your life if you connected around them.
Even if you’re an introvert, think of comfortable or creative ways to connect with people, for example messaging someone on social media to set up a virtual chat. You can also join groups online or in person that relate to areas of need or interest. If the individuals or groups you connect with don’t seem a fit, it’s ok to not take any further steps and seek connection elsewhere.
You may even have existing relationships that you can invest more time in if they are healthy and mutually beneficial. Sometimes your existing family or friends aren’t able to be as supportive as you’d like them to be, so expanding your network can enrich your life.
7) Pursue your unique purpose in life
When you feel discontent, it’s easy to become consumed by the thoughts and emotions surrounding the circumstances. However, God wants you to trust Him with your situation, drawing closer to Him, learning from your experience, and focusing on His purposes for you during this season.
Your purpose springs out of who you are, so it can be carried out in various ways depending on what’s possible during different times in your life. Purpose doesn’t have to be something huge that impacts the masses and it doesn’t have to be part of your job.
In fact, the way God calls you to fulfill that purpose may be simply through your interactions with others for a season. Your purpose can be expressed no matter what your circumstance if you seek God for how He’s calling you to walk in it at the time.
Because God created you specially equipped to fulfill a unique purpose in your life, aligning with what you were made for, pursuing that calling will bring the most meaning and fulfillment to your life.
As you impact others, making a difference in their lives in the way that only you can, it will enrich your life as it enriches theirs. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Take time to explore who you are–your personality traits, natural strengths, spiritual gifts, passions, and life experiences that shape you as a person and the contribution you can make to the world around you. Reflecting on specific questions to help you understand how God designed you and has been moving in your life can be quite helpful in this process.
My post on Christian journaling to reveal your purpose can guide your personal and life reflections. And if you need more depth and breadth of exploring who you are and how God is leading you, you may consider coaching to gain clarity to discover or step farther into your purpose.
Walking in God’s purposes for your life is the most effective step for preventing and overcoming Christian midlife crisis.
As you faithfully pursue God’s plan for your life, you will gain clarity and confidence, living a life of passion and impact as you step into all God is calling you to become and fulfill, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose”. (Philippians 2:13 NIV)
However you choose to seek out what God has designed you to do in this world, move forward “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Chris Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
If you need support to explore your unique design and the special purpose God has for your life, I invite you to schedule a complimentary ‘From Tired to Inspired’ Strategy Session. Together we’ll look at where you are now, where God wants you to be, and spiritual and practical strategies to move you closer to God’s vision and purpose for your life.