I thought of a helpful analogy for the shift to this time of life.
Before, like when I was a teen, then college, working, missions, even when I was married and started having kids– Making life goals and plans was like walking around an art store with blank canvases. It seemed like I could choose major elements of life, like what figure(s) I wanted to put on. Things were Big as far as design.
Now, at midlife, the outlines are there, on the canvas. All these years of life, I’ve been drawing them. I’ve been drawing the boundaries of my picture. And now, goals and plans– it is now filling in the lines.
This is a harder shift than I’d imagined. Because the Lord was drawing the outlines using my hand, and it doesn’t always match what I’d imagined. The choices are smaller now. But I have to keep realizing that they are just as essential.
What colors, textures, brush tips will I use to fill in the details? It’s all there, laid out before me, and I won’t abandon it to try to draw another picture. Or try to cram in there images that don’t belong on the canvas. I’m going to finish this one, as it is for now.
I have to choose– with my attitude, my emotional investment, my earnest following of God– how I will fill in these shapes.
That’s how it’s different making goals at this stage of life.