Men often ‘suffer’ from a phenomenon called the Mid-Life Crisis. While this observable trend has been research and analysed, its common characteristics include a desire of ‘Wanting to feel alive. Most men reach a point where they realise they can no longer emulate their youthful sporting achievements and they also become aware of their own mortality. A common response to this realisation is to recreate events that make men realise that life was exhilarating and fun. It is a form of early nostalgia that often includes:
- Starting an adulterous ‘fling’ to engage the emotions of ‘falling in love’ all over again.
- Splurging on a hot red coupe to rekindle that teenage excitement of rushing down the freeway with the freedom that those moments invoke.
- Entering a depressive state because sometimes adults throw ‘pity parties’ too.
However, it is not just middle-aged men who are in crisis mode. Recent reports show that 20 somthings are ‘suffering’ from a phenomenon being dubbed the Quarter-Life Crisis. Life can be stressful and stress and dispair is increasing eating its way down the food chain and consuming younger and younger people. As a demographic, Gen Y have delayed adulthood to such an extent that they have skipped the ‘settling down and starting a family phase’. Gen Y are now moving straight from ‘spreading their wild oats teenage years’ into quarter-life or mid-life crisis status.
All of the reactions to crisis-phased life, feed the flesh. They stem from a lack of trust and faith in the eternal life the Jesus Christ offers. Trying to find meaning and fulfilment in the things of this world may be understandable, given our preclevative to sin, yet it is still sin.
So the answer must be more than simply saying ‘ stop you naught boy – don’t do that’. The answer is the remind the middle-aged man and the Gen Y ‘stress-out’ that we are saved for eternity. We must daily encourage our brothers and sisters to look beyond this world and find fulfilment in the physical and spiritual reality of eternal life in Christ. In my opinion, religion has lost this focus. It has altered its message to such a degree that focuses on the ‘abundant life here and now’, so when Job-like trials come along, we assume that religion or God has failed us.
As individuals and as a church, let me encourage us to start talking openly, honestly and loudly about the reality of eternity. As we make the ‘new creation’ part of our natural everyday conversation, then we will inoculate us and our listeners to the seductive deceptions of this world. By recovering a real perspective of the fading nature of earthly pleasures, we make space for the Holy Spirit to grow our lives in grace and the mission of Jesus Christ.