A few months ago I was at a popular “younger people” clothing store in the mall purchasing a couple of shirts. The eighteen-ish year old kid behind the counter was making small talk with me when his eyes lit up with recognition. “Hey, did you use to teach second grade at such-and-such elementary?” he blurted out excitedly. “Me?” I looked around to be sure he was in fact talking to me. He was.
I laughed out loud, realizing that he obviously wasn’t a very good judge of age if he thought I could have possibly been HIS second grade teacher. And then I did the math.
Good gracious. Geez. For real?
I was, indeed old enough to have been this kid’s second grade teacher. Just barely, but the problem is, HE thought I was obviously old enough. Growing up is weird. One day you realize that other people actually see you as an adult. It’s a scary thing, because I suppose none of us ever feel all grown up on the inside.
And I’m turning forty this year, did I mention that? It’s really thrown me, and I’m surprised because I’ve never thought much about age at all. For the first time maybe ever, I am aware that there’s an actual timeline. Dreams and goals that have always floated around somewhere out there in the nebulous “someday”, suddenly feel urgent. I know too well that life can change on a dime, and that there’s no time like the present to act on those things that God has hard-wired into us.
My grandfather Zig Ziglar, was the most dedicated and methodical goal-setter I have ever known. He had an amazing way of taking a huge dream and breaking it down into small, doable mini-goals that seemed completely plausible. He made it look so easy. Now, more than ever, do I have an appreciation for his instruction in this area. I can still hear his voice asking “When are you gonna write your book Sunshine? Are you journaling all of your adventures?” I always assured him that I would and that I was. What I wouldn’t give to talk to him about all this turning forty stuff and timelines and goals.
This week I came across a wonderful book called God is Always Hiring-50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work, by Regina Brett. The title caught my eye in the book store and I spent the next hour camped out on the carpet reading. Instead of chapters, the book is divided into lessons, with each lesson taking three to four pages. The lessons were reminiscent of my grandfather’s philosophy and endeared me to the book instantly. I am only to lesson eighteen, but I am devouring the insight Regina shares and it is speaking so pointedly to where I find myself at this half-way place in life.
I don’t know the author, and this is the first work of hers that I have read, so although I sound like I’m pitching and promoting, I’m really just excited about what I’m reading. Maybe you find yourself at a half-way place in life, or feeling like God is doing something new in your heart; changing your direction or steering you towards a specific goal. Look at some of these “lessons”….
1. When you don’t get what you want, you get something better – experience.
2. Everything changes when you change.
3. Burying your talents won’t make them grow.
4. What they call you is up to them. What you answer to is up to you.
5. In the drama of life, there are no small parts.
6. Give others a second chance to make a first impression.
7. Every job is as magical as you make it.
8. There’s time for everything, but not always at the same time.
9. Only you can determine your worth.
10. Even the mistakes belong
11. If you’re going to doubt anything, doubt your doubts.
12. Sometimes the job you want is the job you already have.
13. Most of the time, the only person in your way is you.
14. God is still speaking.
Good stuff. And that’s just fourteen of the lessons. I’m looking forward to reading on, and I expect the pages to be highlighted and dog-eared to death by the time I’m done.
Each new season of life is unexplored territory. Other travelers can describe the scenery, warn you about the potential pit-falls and roadblocks and attempt to forecast the weather. But you really just don’t know until you get there, set your bags down, the ones full of your life experience, hopes and heartaches, and survey the landscape for yourself. You look through different eyes, that have seen different things. You bear God’s unique imprint and you bring that into each new season.
Eleanor Roosevelt said “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
I’ve always loved that quote. It challenges me to face my fears head-on and to conquer that in myself which feels inadequate. This half-way place for me is an awakening. What dormant dream has God deposited in your heart that needs to be dusted off and brought out in to this new season?