I don’t know about you, but my spiritual needs are not quite the same as they used to be. In fact my needs in general are not the same as they used to be. I’m in my fifties now, and how I respond to life—emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically—is simply different. Some days it feels as if it’s a not-so-great kind of different, but that’s probably because I live in a culture that worships youth and is obsessed with never getting old. I’ve been conditioned all my life to fear life in the later years, to fear change in general. This is a cultural conditioning, and it is not in agreement with the Christian faith, because Christianity honors life from beginning to end and sees God’s presence throughout the spectrum of ages and situations.
If I allow my Christianity to condition me, then I will learn to move into the changing seasons of life—with hope, purpose, and celebration. And when I notice that my needs and desires are shifting now and then, I can relax into the knowledge that I am becoming more and more who I am, more and more the person God dreamed me to be from the beginning.
How is life different now? Well, I’ll summarize just a few ideas in this post, and we’ll certainly keep exploring this topic from time to time, as we continue on our journey of “women growing wiser.”
My needs and desires used to focus more on growing a family (in my case a marriage with stepchildren) and a career. Family is still a top priority, but the kids are grown and living in other cities. My career is well-established, and I don’t feel the pressure to prove myself as I once did—only the pressure to continue with the goal of excellence in my work.
In the earlier years, I longed to know my place in the world. For young adults especially, sometimes the search can go on for years and cover many places and situations. Now it’s not so much about location—about finding the perfect town or home—as it is about deepening existence where I am right now. I’m happy with the home I have but realize that “home” has more to do with what’s inside. The interior life is the real location. That’s my place in the world.
From my teens through my twenties, life was all about acquiring information, getting smarter and better educated. I’m still taking classes—a seminary course here and there—but I don’t have the same need to fill up with information. I’m not so hungry to know more; I’m hungrier to understand more, to be wiser with the information I already have.
So, what about you? How have your needs changed?
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If you missed the welcome video, Women Growing Wiser, check it out here.