Mid-Life...Between your Dreams and Reality
“A dream is imagination coupled with desire projected into the future.” Paul David Tripp
“We are creatures of dreams”, says Paul David Tripp,“
whether they might be realistic and out of reach or not…
We all carry a vision in our heart…Maybe it isn’t clear
at the present time, but it is indeed very much alive
and waiting for you to discover. This vision carries us
through life and motivates us.”
Broken dreams…Some of them have taken a great deal of
your time and effort to become reality… many efforts maybe
at the cost of stolen time taken away from our love-ones,
maybe at the cost of many other important interests of
It could be the dream of a successful career or a
business that has stolen a great portion of your identity
as an individual. You wake up one morning…questioning who
you are, as this part of your life is now history …the
children are gone, you’re closer to retirement…the
communication between you and your spouse is on hold
because the children took so much of your time and
attention; you feel like two strangers in courtship
again…with nothing much to say to each other…
You question the outcome of your life …is this a dream
or is it my reality…maybe both… to remind me that my
transition calls me to continue the journey trusting
and hopeful no matter the circumstances. Whether you feel
young and energetic or you feel like every part of your
body is aching or falling apart…you’re reaching the
crossroad and you don’t know what life holds for you…it’s
never too late to dream…it’s never too late to live.
1.When dream(s) (having been realized or not)
takes over your life.
Our dreams, like anything else, can become an intruder,
a form of evasion or even an illusion if unrealistic.
As a personal example, I’ve dreamed of earning a living
as a musician or a music teacher. For as much as I love
to sing, I fully understand that this project of life
is now a dream – that could have been realized having
had the confidence and support of my family and the
self-confidence – but now, I know that this is a dream
of the past that has very little chance to come true, so
for me, to continue to hope for something in this field
is an illusion…it would be like planning my life with a
million dollar cheque I’ve never won.
Some of them, on the contrary, might have taken a great
deal of our time and effort to come true. Having reached
mid-life, you look back - accounting the fruits of your
efforts - and you question whether it was either the
right choice, whether it was worth the high cost of
perhaps so many family relationships issues; in other
words, this /these dreams have ruled your life
You’ve turned all the pride and effort and gave yourself
the full credit, yet you forget that the Author of all
things was behind supporting you. (We must remember
that nothing is possible without the gift of his loving
2. Use your gift of imagination wisely
“A dream is imagination coupled with desire and projected
into the future.” How does it work? Paul David Tripp
illustrates this very well in his book: Lost in the
Middle – MidLife and the Grace of God when he
describes this most humanly precious gift and I quote:
“This ability to imagine is wonderful, mysterious,
practical, holy, mundane, and amazing. Whether listening
to someone describe a place you have not been to, or
reading a novel and imagining what each character looks
like…it is a particularly significant for believers
because we accept the fact that there is a God who
really does exist, who cannot been seen, touched or
But like any other gifts, if we don’t use it wisely,
it can turn against us… “…there can be so many unworthy
things that can capture our imagination and thus misdirect
our lives. This fact should not be overlooked.”
Paul David Tripp describes this beautifully and I quote:
“What exactly is a dream... for example, I want to be
comfortable, so I dream that someday I will be very
successful in business and will purchase luxurious house
in an elite community. I play and replay the video of
a succession of promotions and of exactly what that
house and that community would look like. The more I
replay my dream, the more detailed it gets and the more
it has control of me. Each day that I work, I am a person
in pursuit of a dream. Before long the dream is not just
a faint and distant hope for the future. It becomes a
prized possession. I become convinced that life without
that dream would be unthinkable and unlivable.. My sense
of identity, purpose, well-being, contentment, and
satisfaction becomes directly connected to the realization
of the dream. My imagination ha been captured and is now
controlled by some aspect of the creation. It was never
meant to be that way. Al other dreams were meant to be
subservient to God’s dream. Yet in the pursuit of my
essential dream, I have been slowly building my own
personal tower to my own personal heaven. It has me.
It motivates me. It guides and directs me…
3. Learn from your disappointments
You’ve build your own Tower of Babel (Gn 11 3-5) –
your own personal heaven without Him, and you’ve
replaced the glory attributed to Him and attributed it
to yourself. Because, He knows what makes humanity happy.
He will allow you to face hurt and disappointments, as a
wake-up call, and He will help you to understand and to
learn that the purpose of your whole life consists in
realizing the dream of God for you.
Dreams die and disappoint because we live in a world in
competition against the dream world. We deal with a
world of cheaters, of hatred, of jealousy and envy.
People don’t want us to succeed…competition…and many,
many more resistances interfere in the accomplishment
of our dreams. Our world is a broken place and people
step on one another to destroy anyone with success.
Your dream ends up capturing you. I quote Tripp
when he says,
“Yesterday’s dream becomes today’s demand. Today’s
demand morphs into tomorrow’s needs. What once got my
attention has now become the thing that I cannot live
without. Remember this dream principle: the dream for
a good thing becomes a bad thing when that dream becomes
a ruling thing. This is the danger of our dreams.”
“A dream does not fulfill you; it never did and it never
will. It doesn’t give you an identity nor an emotional
security” says Tripp. “It won’t give you this sense of
meaning and purpose that you are actually seeking to get.
How many people have fulfilled their dreams, only to feel
empty, hungry, and lost once more?” This makes us feel
envious, bitter, doubtful, in denial, or wanting to
bargain with God. With no intention of elaborating, what
do I do with my broken dreams?
You are called to build a world of peace, of love and of
harmony around you; you are called to live in happiness.
Our dreams must be in harmony with His’ and be surrendered
within God’s hands. Any projects He cannot share with you
will lead to unhappiness and disappointment. He knows you
more than you will never know yourself, so why not entrust
your future in His loving hands. Instead of asking yourself
the question: “What do I want to do, or to have, you must
ask yourself: “What does God have for me in regards to:
1. My family?
2. My life?
3. My work?
4. My social life…
A person that doesn’t nourish any dreams is not a lively
person…but a wonderer in life. I would like to present this
book from Amy Twain entitled:101 ways to your dream life –
Goal Setting Tips for your success. To obtain a copy of
this book you can download from the following website link
also added on my mid-life low-self esteem webpage:
Mid-life a time of assessment...
“If during mid-life all you had to do was to acknowledge
your failures, let go some of your dreams or accept that
you were getting older, this period of time would not be
so difficult.” The challenges are related to problems of
the heart. We will discuss more about this in our
I wish to introduce this last but no least popular concern
we can be journeying into during this transitional phase
of our life: the existential crisis.
You might sense your professional life or your interpersonal
relationships up to par...things are going well or as you
expect them to be, yet, you feel your life to be under
anesthestic, some kind of a numbness that could be exopressed
under indifference, boredom, nonchalence; you might be
carying nostalgia or apathy; you might also be under the
impression that whatever you do or say no longer makes a
difference anymore; you feel like whether you live or you
die, wouldn't make a difference to anyone... You feel like
you’re a number more than a unique individual.
The worse thing about this is that you’re not sure why you
feel this way. In other words your life is meaningless and
you carry this inner spiritual weight like a wanderer in
If this is your situation, there are two important messages
you must learn from this experience and I quote Dr Phil in
his book: «Real Life- Preparing for the 7 most Challenging
Days of your Life»:
....Everyone needs to know they matter, and you are no
exception. Everyone needs to feel that they are part of
something and to have a strong sense of belonging.”
You haven’t chosen to enter this life. You haven't chosen
your upbringing situation of life, your present life
situation but again you can choose how you live your life.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl once said: "you can and should
chose to find meaning even in suffering; without meaning
your pain becomes a penalty. Rediscover your passions, what
brings you joy and gratification.
The mid-life harvest:
This concern awakes in us a few realities:
1. There`s more to life than everything we have been craving
or anything we have been doing. We have attributed so
much value about things that we now learn to be
superficial and poor.
2. Our struggles reminds us that we are migrating in this
finite or limited world and the here-and-now we journey
into, sometimes makes us feel like walking in a desert
or a storm. We need to journey deeper inward and to pay
more attention to the transcendental view of life. We
should consider a spiritual approach of life that gives
us a much broader perspective of life – the one beyond
the earthly life – the life in eternity.
3.We need to turn to Someone in our struggles; someone
who understands us for being the Author of all things
and of our existence, for having had shared our human
condition through life and death, and re-established
the broken relationship attributed by the
Reaching the spiritual crossroad...
Mid-life is also a spiritual transition, we’ve mentioned
this before... we journey at different levels. Some are
at the beginning of the race, some in the transitional
phase...But, no matter where you are situated, “There
are people in mid-life who quit fighting the fight of
faith. They let doubt and bitterness seep into their hearts
and begin to eat away at love and worship. They give into
the cancer of envy and get paralysed by what could have
Our source of hope in this transitional phase of life is
to believe in time and in counter time:
That God is in control and in charge of your situation.
We live in a world that doesn`t belong to us...with people
that doesn`t belong to us. You don`t even own your life
...remember, Christ purchased you at a price... the
shedding of his own flesh and blood. No gods of either
Roman or Greek mythology has ever done that! In his letter
to the Corinthians, Paul confirms this: “Do you know that
your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which
you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you
were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your
The greatest disappointment we experiment during mid-life
is more than often one with God. The inner spiritual
battleship is expressed under one or more of these
attitudes as a reaction to our struggles: (from the book
Lost in the Middle – MidLife and the Grace of God) and
1. A feeling of hopelessness. (What a difference does it
make; it doesn`t work view of life) You struggle
directly or indirectly with the One who hold all life
2. Disappointed, you will journey in a desert...feeling a
lack of enthusiasm and a lack of zeal for the things of
God. You will even let go godly habits.
3. Like any situations of loss, you feel the pain and
you`re in anger against people around you and parti-
cularly to God for allowing obstacles to interfere in
your plans of life.
4. You crave for control and for power.
5. You sense a paradox between the messages of the
teaching in the Scripture and you begin to doubt them
and to question them. You want to back away from your
values and beliefs. In this case, you let life interpret
6. Your emotions begin to run your life...become greater
than the circumstances, the source of the anger is more
than your circumstances...you carry anger with God...
You begin to question His love and His wisdom. Your
gratitude decreases and for many earthly interests will
Why does some people believe in God`s power and
willingness to intervene in our lives, and even say that
He did as for others don`t?
Jonathan Morris, in his book “The Promise – God`s Purpose
and Plan for When Life Hurts and I quote: « You want Him
to desperately achieve your objective, your way and when
you don’t get an instant response “God machine" is broken.
We press the buttons harder, just in case, hit the coin
machine to get your money back...”Hello...I`m praying why
are you not there?
Have you ever thought for a moment, that you are treating
God as a vending machine? Would you like to be treated
this way? How hurting when people call you or become nice
with you because they expect something from you and once
granted, you are ignored or taken for granted again. Have
you thought for one second that he holds your living-
existence (past, present and future) in his loving hands
and if for one second He chose to ignore you, you would
disappear from the face of this earth? Your heart beats,
your lung breathes, your kidneys filter because it`s his
loving will upon you for now. This also applies for all
We need to look over the images and perceptions we make
of God and ask ourselves if the God I am worshiping is
the real God or a god of modern mythology. Some other
images presented by Jonathan Morris may be striking. If
these are your perceptions of God, you have been knocking
at the wrong door because God isn’t there because that
God doesn’t exist:
a) God the clockmaker!
The attitude we develop is the one of acknowledgement
towards the Author of life and of all creation; he sets
things in motion and leaves us to our own fate.”
b) God is not a buffet!
My God is like this...and my God is like that...the
computer age personalized life choices. We take Buddhist
meditation and add some new age beliefs, some Hindu
mysticism but no moral please!
c)God is not a cop!
You better be perfect or else...! When bad things happen,
he`s mad! We blame him for broken relationships,
earthquakes and hurricanes...God is the cause of our
d)God is not a life insurance
Being religious will be for later on in life...right now I
want to enjoy earthly pleasures. I will look for other
meanings to my life and come back to God when and if I’m
still searching after trying everything else.
Often we hear this comment: “I am spiritual but not
religious.” What does a person mean by this? I quote
Jonathan Morris “We are all spiritual by nature – we all
look up to transcendence. Being religious is our response
(social) to that gift of spirituality. This expression
clearly states that you intentionally to do nothing about
your gift of spirituality.”
“These images describe a god that is capricious. I
understand any kind of reluctance in worshiping such a
God”, says Jonathan Morris, S.J. “You need to learn
about God himself, who has revealed Himself to be.
The Bible teaches us about mid-life not as much in
describing the transition itself but in presenting us real
situations and real people in a psycho-spiritual journey
discovering, through live experiences, who the real God is
and how they can glorify Him in their everyday life
situations. Because, no one is an island, our communities
of worship help us to grow together – learning together in
good and difficult times.
I would like to conclude with a word about our suffering
and how to journey through it with resilience and
We need to understand that no matter the kind of suffering –
whether physical, emotional or spiritual, God all
compassionate and merciful is always with us and journeys
with us. Remember, He is with you as a Spirit...in a sense
He`s much more closer to you than you are to yourself as a
human being. You pain is not a will of the All Mighty...We
must get this out of our head! Remember Christ in the
garden of Gethsemane... “In his anguish he prayed more
earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood
falling down on the ground. Father, if you are willing,
remove this cup from me...”
Why doesn’t God remove my pain?
God sees the big picture...The past, the present and the
future is before his eyes...He sees the outcome and how
we grow from this experience... “...unless a grain of
wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a
single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
John 12:24 “God`s ultimate goal for your life on earth
is not comfort, but character development.” Rick Warren
explains this, his own way in his book:
“The Purpose Driven Life – What on Earth am I Here for?”
and I quote: “God has a purpose behind every problem.
He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact,
he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus
than he depends on our reading the Bible. The reason is
obvious: You face circumstances twenty-four hours a day...
No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering,
and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. Life
is a series of problems. Peter assures us that problems
are normal and says:
“Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the
fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing
that is going to happen to you.”
Contemplate the elements of nature and its cycle of life
and resurrection to inspire you about this mystery of life.
In spring natures blooms and in winter nature is
bare...Contemplate autumn in its beauty and abundance...than
the cold weather comes and everything seems dead... We are
part of this creation and undergoing our seasonal transitions
– like the caterpillar in the chrysalis in full transformation
into becoming a beautiful butterfly.
Mid-life...more than a time of assessment...it’s now a time
Lost in the Middle – MidLife and the Grace of God by Paul David Tripp, Copyright 2004 Shepherd Press PO
Box 24 Wapwallopen,PA 18660
Holy Bible – The New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition Catholic Bible Press – a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers Copyright 1993
Dear Heart Come Home – The Path of Midlife Spirituality by Joyce Rupp The Crossroad Publishing Company 16 Penn Plaza,481 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10001 Copyright 2006
Real Life – Preparing the 7 most Challenging Days of Your Life by Dr. Phil McGraw Free Press A Division of Simon & Shuster, Inc.1230 avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 Copyright 2008
Why Faith Matters by David J. Wolpe
HarperCollins Publishers 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY, 10022 Copyright 2008
The Promise – God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts by Father Jonathan Morris, HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY, 10022 Copyright 2008
The Purpose Driven Life – What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren Zondervan, Copyright 2002
Praying our Goodbyes – A Spiritual Companion through Life’s Losses and Sorrows by Joyce Rupp Ave Maria press Notre dame, Indiana, Inc., P.O.
"Enlighten your journey of life particularly in this transitional phase of mid-life where life is not easy.