It’s easy to feel on the edge these days — whether we’re watching the news and becoming frustrated or just living with a growing irritation or discontent for how life is going.
Edginess – which is sometimes called a midlife crisis – can come our way through a restlessness that makes us feel we’re missing out on something, or we’re not as happy as we could be, or we’re tired of rules, regulations, or expectations (like having to stay married, having to work at a job you don’t like, or having accountability). It can also happen when we aren’t happy with where we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Yet, when we’re desperate for something to change, that’s often when God wants to change us and make us desperate for Him.
Once you recognize the warning signs of being “on the edge” it will help if you have a plan so you can steer that edginess into a positive direction instead of doing something that you will later regret. Here are four productive things to do when you find yourself feeling like a woman on the edge.
- Reach out to a mentor.
All around you are people who are older or wiser than you and have gone through what you are going through now Be real with someone, share your struggles, and ask for their help, wisdom, and perspective.
If you need counseling more than mentoring, make the investment to address those childhood wounds and the issues in your life that might be leading to how you’re feeling today. Proverbs 13:10 tells us “wisdom is with those who receive counsel” (NASB). And if you haven’t yet read it, check out my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts.
2. Read some great books.
Have you ever thought (or heard) the saying, “Too many books, too little time”? Start developing that motto, and then attacking it as a challenge to read more of the great books that are available to you, physically or online.
Invest in your spiritual life and knowledge of God by reading some of the writers of Christian Classics like Henry Nouwen, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Teresa of Avila, or St. John of the Cross. You will not only exercise your mind (which could help delay memory failure as you age), but you will grow mentally and spiritually, too.
In addition to the Bible, some of the most life-changing books I’ve read through the years include: The Pursuit of God and Man: The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer, Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller, and The End of Me by Kyle Idleman. Another life-changer that released this year is Natasha Crain’s Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture. It will help you put a finger on why you may be feeling so frustrated at the direction this nation is headed. Good books will sharpen you in – and in some ways protect you from – a difficult season of life.
3. Try some fruitful ‘firsts.”
Don’t let this restless season of your life be the first time you try something stupid like smoking pot or having an affair. How about making it the first time (or the one hundredth) that you do something super productive that will count beyond just this lifetime?
I know so many women who rush out to get their first tattoo during a restless season in life. But, how about rushing out to make a mark on someone else through service, financial investment, or just showing love in a way you never had before? How about making this season of life the first time you personally shared Christ with someone, served in a homeless shelter, or regularly supported a missionary or a child in need through a Christian organization like Compassion International?
Serving others keeps our minds off of ourselves and our discontent. And keeping busy, when it benefits someone other than yourself, is far better than having idle hands ready for a new way to become destructive.
4. Develop a hunger for heaven.
The day I turned 50 I started fearing death for the very first time. I didn’t have a terminal diagnosis. In fact, I was in perfect health. I wasn’t afraid of my eternal destiny, because I was assured of my salvation in Christ Jesus. I had just realized that I had more years behind me than in front of me and I’d become so comfortable with life on earth that I feared leaving it. Sadly, I had lost (or never really gained) my longing for heaven.
A season of edginess can make us feel we must do something wild, risky, or utterly crazy while we still have time. But if we become aware of what heaven is like, which will cause us to long for it, we will be more focused on our heavenly home than our earthly one. Colossians 3:1-2 tells followers of Christ to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” When you and I realize our lives are hidden (protected and secured) with Christ in God, we should want nothing more than to invest in our eternal home.
You can develop a hunger for heaven by reading all the Bible has to say about it, and gleaning spiritual insights from the scriptural studies on heaven that authors and pastors have done. Read Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, and Robert Jeffress’s A Place Called Heaven. I suggest you not wait until you’ve had a terminal diagnosis to start investing in, and longing for heaven. You might not have that much time.
For more practical and spiritual help through this tough season, see my book, Women on the Edge: Turning Desperation into a Desire for God (on sale for just $9.99 each this week only).