25 June 2013 by Natasha Kim CM –
Rebecca Robin Chong talked about midlife and how it’s all about transitioning, transformation and facilitating for another stage of life. The talk was given at the 3rd National Association of Christian Counselors Malaysia (NACC).
“You cannot avoid childhood/ adolescent neither can you avoid midlife with all its invitations and challenges” shared Rebecca. Now you can try to deny it all you want but you can’t escape from it, so why not embrace it instead of sulking about it. It’s another step in life those who are lucky to live that long must bravely face. “Allow it to facilitate you to another level of growth and discovery” she added.
According to the late Charlotte Buhler who did a study on human psychology, “I decided that life can be understood from the end than from the beginning. And this is how I fashion my midlife. I view the end “potential calling”, “task or purpose”, and place the work on my midlife. So that when I enter into my end life I’m not caught unaware or sudden lack of opportunity nor time to attend it.”
Life is always transitioning and it causes anxiety in many but once you grow in it you’ll be able to enjoy it, just like every other stage in life. “We serve a creative God so when you go through crisis, you know that he is going to turn up and show you what to do so don’t worry” she said. When you miss out on something in your teenage years or when the stage is not successfully completed, it may reappear as a problem in the future.
Halfway through the talk Rebecca decided to perform an activity where everyone was divided into age groups. Each age group of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 year olds had to come to a consensus of what they are invited to do and what they tend to neglect during that particular time of their life. After the short activity it was concluded it was found that most of the age groups tend to neglect health, and their spiritual life while those aged 60 and above were trying to make up for it.
After finding that Charlotte Buhler said that we should look at the end life to understand life, Rebecca found Erik Erikson’s study on psychosocial development which talked about how people in late adulthood tend to battle against ego integrity vs despair.
In this case, people aged 65 and above tend to look back on their lives and accomplishments. They develop feelings of contentment and integrity if they believe that they have led a happy, productive life. However, some may instead develop a sense of despair if they look back on a life of disappointments and unachieved goals. “Whatever thing that is not whole and not together, you better put some wholeness back there” said Rebecca.
She found that there were many potholes in her life but made it her choice to mend those potholes and put integrity into it, so that she could drive comfortably ahead in life and be satisfied when she finally had to leave the world. You know that you are in midlife when you experience a sense of restlessness.
God speaks to everyone in different ways. “When I had my midlife God spoke to me in three dreams” she said. In the first dream there was two boats, one full of people she knew while the other boat was empty. “It was so against my character to go into an empty boat” she shared. In the second dream, she dreamt of her own house where when she left and came back, it was burnt down. In the third dream, she had a two person party at a swimming pool, and there she saw a beast and an angel having a fight. Then all of a sudden a was a ring on the doorbell and the beast let himself in. She said “Oh! So you won but how did you come in?” The beast replied, “I have the key!”
These dreams scared Rebecca and she related it to entering midlife. “After midlife we will never be the same again. Every time we do some transformation work we are bound to be different” shared Rebecca.
The most challenging thing is to look into is yourself and your faith. She shared that all of us relate to each other as dentist, mother, father, lawyer, daughter, grandfather and etc. Who are you really?
“The first and second half of your life will never be the complete person of you, it’s a competition of yourself to the outer world. A lot of things are being dictated by the external so if you’re a leader or a parent encourage children to look into the inside and to God” she said. In fact all of us must look inside us and ask “What did God meant for me to be?” If you’re not sure Rebecca encourages all to ask your pastor and have a talk about it.
Remember to mend everything that you overlooked. Just like how children tug at their parents clothes when they want something, God constantly tugs at us as well and it can be for many reasons, whether it is to look at our health or something else. Putting it off until later might lead to regret. Do not be frightened but accept the responsibility because it is your life! Do not look to someone else to drive your life so that you won’t look back to an empty life.
“If you don’t attend to your own frustration, you will hurt yourself, hurt others, and hurt everyone including yourself. Whatever you don’t attend to will stand between you and life” shared Rebecca. If you cannot change something make sure you make peace with it and seek God for He can offer you peace.
Make this trip and find out about yourself!
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
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