I remember the first night in my own house. New wife. Mortgage payment to make each month.
I felt responsible — more than I ever had in my life.
And, honestly, there was a part of me afraid. It wasn’t a boogie man kind of fear. I’ve never been one to be that kind of afraid very much.
It was a revering kind of fear. An awe of the weight of the responsibility. The enormity of the demand in front of me.
I wanted to be a good husband. Be a provider. Protect my home. Pay for it. Keep a roof over our head.
And the night we brought a baby into our house. — wow — having grown up most of my life without a father in the picture, I certainly wanted to be a good dad.
Those were normal fears of the entry into manhood. I’m sure girls feel similar fears.
Those fears are long gone. I haven’t felt them in years. We’ve kept the house. Actual had several over the years. Praise God. God blessed me as a dad. I have two pretty good children. (Actually they are excellent — seriously — two of the best men I know.) God has been so good to us.
But, fears are back — in a different kind of way. Again, not a boogie man kind of fear. I don’t fear as in a worry sense. I wouldn’t even use the word “afraid” as I would use the word “fear”. I hope that makes sense. Probably not — but it does to me.
It’s a feeling of reverence. Of seriousness. Of responsibility.
Granted, age is relative. To someone who died too young I would be an old man. Blessed with years. And to some who live long I’m still a very young man. My grandfather lived to be a 101 years old. I’ve got some days in front of me.
But, those fears, as a 50 year old, are so unique.
Here are 5 real fears of a 50 year old:
I will leave something undone. I don’t want to miss anything God has for me to do. I realize time is drawing shorter. There’s still so much left with the calling He has placed on my life. I don’t want to miss any of it.
I will start to fear change. I’ve never been resistant to change. I love it. Most of my life has been shaped by leaps of faith. I don’t want that to stop. I know change supposedly gets more difficult to accept with age. I want to defy those odds — take risks — willing to live with great moves of faith.
I won’t be prepared. I’m not afraid of death. Quite the contrary. I know my future eternity is secure. That’s a great feeling. A great comfort and hope. But, chances are, I will leave people behind someday. Will I have prepared them for my exit? Will I have invested well, have my paperwork and life in order, to limit any burden potential for my children?
They won’t remember. Of course, many will “remember” who I was — a father, a husband, a friend, a pastor — it’s hard to forget the significant people in our life. But, will they remember the right things and will what they remember add to the quality of their life? Will the words they recall be filled with wisdom and be life-giving? Will my lasting influence make their life better?
Not finishing strong. Cheryl’s father used to say, “I don’t want my body to outlast my mind.” I understand that more now. I want to be productive every moment of my life. I know men decades older than me who can still outwork and out-think me. I want to finish like that. Of course, we can’t control that. We can play a part — and I’m more careful what I eat and that I exercise — but so many things are out of our control. I feel the weight of that.
How is that for gut honesty?
Why post it? Well, somehow, it feels better to put it in writing. I suspect — because of human nature — I’m not alone in some of these fears.
I will still teach that one of Christ’s most dominant commands is “Don’t be afraid”.
But, maybe too it’s a challenge to myself to do everything in my power to avoid these fears from becoming reality. To live even more intentional with my life. And, trust God for the sufficiency of His grace for where — for whatever reason — I am unable to do so.