FIFTY-SOMETHING (with Bonnie Sala)

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If you could skip time and live forever in good health at a certain age, what age would you like to be? An online poll by a well-known market research company asked 2,000 American adults just this question. The poll included men and women of all ages, all geographical regions, and all political bents.

And, the result may surprise you! Fifty is the perfect age, said the majority.

The fifties and up can be one of life’s most fulfilling periods. You no longer have the full responsibility of a family and yet have your health, a reasonable amount of money, and time (which is the real currency of life). Gone is the stress of daily parenting, the constant, nail-biting battle with the budget, and pressure to make a name for yourself. “I feel like I have a voice now,” one woman explained, “I was so busy in my 40s raising children.” “My choices are more intentional now. Another commented, “There’s less ahead of me than there is behind and I want to make it count.”

The fifty-something years can be a period of pleasure, intense fulfillment, and growth–spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. “Halftime,” is what more and more are calling what used to be referred to as “middle age.” In his book called Halftime, Bob Buford believes that the second half of your life can be better than the first. Much better. Fifty is the time to ask yourself: What am I really good at? What do I want to do? What is most important to me? What do I want to be remembered for?

Personally, “50” brought me to a place of total surrender, as I said to God, “I’ve tried my best for the first 50 and I’m done. Take the rest of my years and use me up!”

Dean Niewolmy is the CEO of the Halftime Institute, a Christian non-profit that works to help people find joy, impact and balance in the second half of their lives. He says, “A ‘Halftimer’ can learn to surrender to his or her own calling, to live out deep faith in God, to multiply kingdom impact in the issues Jesus cares about, and to experience lasting joy in community.”

For the person who believes, as the Bible asserts, that what you are is far more important than what you look like or what you’ve done, the goal of success is pushed aside and replaced with the desire to do the will of God and be everything that God wants you to be.

Michelangelo began painting the great Medici Chapel at age 55. Then there’s the American painter, Anna Mary Robertson Moses. “Grandma Moses,” as she was called, didn’t turn out her first canvas until she was 76 and kept at it another 25 years, long enough to see the paintings she once sold for $3 go for more than $10,000 a piece.

In their book, Age is Just a Number, my parents Harold and Darlene Sala, quote Amy Carmichael. Carmichael was inspired by the epitaph on the grave of a Swiss mountaineer when she wrote this prayer:

Make us Thy mountaineers;/ We would not linger on the lower slope, / Fill us afresh with hope, O God of Hope,/ That undefeated we may climb the hill/ As seeing Him who is invisible./ Let us die climbing.

A climber considering a mountain peak decides in advance, which mapped out route to take. All lead up, but require different climbing skills and experience. What will the second half of your climb look like? If you’re at halftime or beyond today, take some time out to reevaluate your route!

But let us climb to the end, let us press on, at every age, toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Resource Reading: Psalm 89:15-17

Text: Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 10, 2017