Midlife struggles – do I belong to myself or to God?

By Paul Tripp

True identity is rooted in worshiping God as Creator. To have a sense of identity that will not fail you when you are buffeted by the sure-to-come storms of life, you must start at the beginning.  Every part of the fabric of your personhood was carefully knit together by God’s creative hands. There was no part of you that was hidden from him. He carefully examined every aspect of your unformed body before you were born. There were no accidents, no glitches, no thoughtless moments. Just like David, you too were “fearfully and wonderfully” made. The color of your eyes, the shape of your body, your intellectual and physical gifts, your hair, your voice, your personality, the color of your skin, the size of your feet, etc.—all of your hardwiring is the result of God’s glorious creative ability.

The “package” that created you comes from his hand.

I am deeply persuaded that while many of us worship God as Creator on Sunday, we curse his work during the week. Most of us harbor dissatisfaction with who God made us to be. The short ones want to be tall; the tall ones want to be shorter. The intellectuals secretly wish to be athletic; the mechanically minded people secretly wish they could be more musical. The serious person wishes, just for once, that he could be the life of the party, and the guy who was given the gift to think and to teach wishes he could have been more administrative. There are times in all of our lives when we secretly wish we could rise to the throne of creation and remake ourselves in the image of what we would like to be.

Often this refusal to accept your legacy in midlife is really a refusal to accept your identity.  What about you? Are your midlife struggles connected to your failure to celebrate whom the Creator wired you to be?

So much of midlife struggle is because we haven’t gotten our own way. We have lived as if we belonged to ourselves, when really we belonged to him.  So, my marriage was never meant as a means for my glory, but as a workroom for his. My kids never belonged to me; they belong to him. My job never belonged to me; it was his all along to use as he wished for the realization of his glorious purposes in and through me.

Worshiping God as Creator also means recognizing that I was made for him. If God made us, then we belong to him as a testament to his creative glory. The fact is that you and I were never meant to live for our own success and glory. This “I belong to another” lifestyle was meant to shape our marriages, parenting, friendship, and careers. It was meant to shape the way we approach position and possessions. As a creature, your life belongs to Another, and so your life is part of his dream.

Paul David Tripp

Excerpts from Chapter 10 of Lost in the Middle.

Lost in the Middle


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