There are many factors driving a midlife woman's moods and fears. There are physical causes (including the mind), spiritual causes, and there are circumstantial causes.
- A midlife woman may suddenly feel physically out of shape, stiff
all over, depleted in energy, and so on (even women who regularly
- A midlife woman may fall into depression due to physical causes
(such as hypothyroidism, or if she’s in chronic pain, the upset nerves can
trigger depression, and so on), or due to confused thinking she’s fallen
- A woman facing unemployment may struggle with her identity and lack
of clear path when there is no longer a daily work schedule in place.
- A single-again woman may have trouble bouncing back after the end
of her marriage.
- A single woman may fear impending retirement without a partner.
- A woman may struggle as her role as mother drastically changes as
her children move on.
- A woman may feel stuck in a boring routine.
- The impending empty nest can be frightening for some.
WHAT CHANGES, WHAT DOESN'T CHANGE
What doesn't change is God’s love for you. Have you become so self-sufficient that you haven’t invited God into all areas of your life? Whenever you have a situation you’re dealing with, try asking God to be involved. Wait for him to shed light on things.
As a Christian woman, what doesn't change is your role is to serve God. Some women are called to serve God alongside a man, others not. Some are called to serve God while parenting, others not. Your marital or motherhood status should not be the defining factor of your life purpose. Ask God for clarity of where he wants you now.
Your marital or motherhood status should not be the reason you’re in crisis either. It’s how you’re reacting to your changing status that is troubling. Look for help to deal with the fears you’re feeling.
WHAT TO DO
There are some things that are commonly beneficial to most women in the midlife phase:
- Address the physical by talking to your
doctor: The changes in your
body are real. Find out what’s
afflicting you. Ask for God to
reveal the source and the answer for either a cure or management. Build a team of resources around you
that will help you.
Remember, physical issues CAN change for the better. Don’t believe you are stuck with something forever. Don’t let your illness define you.
I can personally attest that I have suffered and now live free of many medically troubling issues. I had facial pain for eight months before it was miraculously healed. I had carpal tunnel syndrome for a year, and none for twenty years now. I had a torn medial collateral ligament. Recovery took four months, but now I have no residual affects. At the time, I had no clue how long any of these would last. Now I know there is hope for full recovery.
Resist the urge to compare yourself or your situation with other women. Yes, God does allow some woman to deal with certain issues their entire life. We all have our own “normal”. Your normal may include pain management. Your normal may include the need for anti-depressants. Your normal is not my normal. But don’t make your normal out to be a negative!
A FEW MORE TIPS ON WHAT TO DO:
Here are a few more tips for working through midlife issues:
- Block boredom.
Commit to continuous learning: Yes, you have a wealth of
mature knowledge, but the world continues to change. No one becomes an expert. Commit to revitalize your brain and life in general by learning new things.
Read. Research. Take an online course or sign up for one
in your community. Become a student
- Study and Pray every day: The deeper relationship you have with God
the better you’ll handle life. Study
His word and the words of Christian authors. Ask the spirit to teach you. Make notes. Listen intently. Share what you learn with others.
- Schedule a little: If you’re suddenly out of work, a mom
whose children have moved on, or a widow or single-again woman who has no
spouse arriving home at six o’clock, you may feel lost without the old
schedule. Schedules help. You certainly don’t have to be rigid,
but it will help if you have a few routines.
Decide what you will do each morning. Will you feed the pets and wild birds? Will you enjoy a coffee with the newspaper? Will you catch up on
Choose something and make it a habit for a few days. Set a time limit. You certainly won’t be happy if you sit all day in your PJs reading a paper. Maybe by a certain time you get dressed. Have your next activity scheduled. Will you walk the dog at a certain time? Meet a friend for coffee at a certain time monthly or weekly? Will you clean the pool at a certain time, or take a swim? Will you get to the gym?
By scheduling a few outings and completing them you will gain a better feeling of satisfaction.
- Call fear out: In the
list at the start of this article you may notice fear-based issues. A mom fears the empty nest, a woman
fears retirement alone, a woman fears boredom. It’s important to remember that these
types of fears are based on picturing a bleak future. But today is yesterday’s future and
chances are you’re handling today pretty well.
Remember that life is a process of gradual change. With change comes some letting go and grief at times, but grief should be walked through. Take each day a step at a time. Wipe the slate clean daily.
Don’t waste another day fearing a bleak future or living in the past. A good exercise might be to write the story of your future. Picture fun possibilities. What do you want to look like? What might you be doing? Set goals to work towards the picture.
Many fears aren’t realized. You may fear the empty nest only to live in it for a year and have your child move back home again. You may be surprised that you actually liked it without children living under the roof. Now you have a whole new set of circumstances to deal with.
You may be a widow but actually discover you are strong and skilled at doing things on your own. You may grow so much you love your new independent self.
The challenges of midlife are varied. I’d be happy to see your comments in the space below. Just click on the “comments” button.