I was asked this question a few years ago on an application and recently came across it my response … thought I would share it … feedback welcome.

In the final analysis this question is really one of awareness.  I have this crazy notion that God is the creator, redeemer and sustainer of all things, and as such he is always ever-present.  So then it comes to me to hear his voice and know his presence with me in those “all things.”  Therefore, I believe that there is no activity under heaven wherein I can’t significantly encounter God.  However, that may or may not be a pleasant encounter.  To some degree that depends on where my heart is towards him and the activity in which I am engaged when that encounter takes place.

For myself, I tend to encounter God significantly in the following ways: corporate worship and the Lord’s Supper, personal times of prayer and meditation, and reading the Scriptures with my children.  Taking communion together as a body is so rich and meaningful it is hard to not to encounter God in a significant manner.  The tactile nature of eating and drinking combined with the picture of one body made up of radically needy and broken people coming together to receive life and grace is a moving experience to me.  I consistently have personal prayer and Scripture meditation early in the morning partly because it helps me center myself first thing for the day but also because it is one of the few times the house is quiet enough to really sit in silence (I have three rowdy boys!).  Sometimes it feels empty and vain.  Sometimes I sense his presence and pleasure so that my soul is awakened to his work.  Showing up is the real battle.  My other consistent time of prayer is post-workout.  I’ve worked-out in some form or fashion my whole life and it something I really enjoy.  There is something significant for me to come to the end of my physical abilities and in exhaustion find his peace and presence.  Part of this experience is remembering that I am “from the dust and to the dust will return,” which is both very sobering and very hopeful in light of the gospel.  Reading and praying with my three boys has been one of the most life-giving activities for me in the last two years.  We read from “The Jesus Story Book Bible” and many times it is just too much to read aloud as I am overwhelmed with emotion at the simple beauty of God’s “never-ending, unfailing love” for his children.  Also the discipline of Scripture memorization with them has challenged me in the mental exercise of setting your mind to the truth of Scripture.  So these three ways for me represent the three mains spheres of life where God encounters me:  Church/community, personal prayer and meditation, and my family life.

So my 30’s are almost over… one more trip around the sun and I’ll be 40.  Some consider that to be halftime… I should be so fortunate.

There is a part of me that is quite thankful my 30’s are almost over.  We had our first child when I was 31 and becoming a parent proved to me just how inflexible I had become in life.  Children have this way of either making you more flexible or breaking you.  I broke.  And then I became more flexible.  Now with three sons I have to remain flexible both in body and in soul.  Of course  something happens to the human body and soul as we age… we become less flexible – usually.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  At least not entirely.

I’m attempting a rebellion against the 2nd law of thermodynamics and I’m learning – if ever-so-slowly – to become more flexible in body and soul.  One of my overall goals is to be in the best overall shape of my life when I turn 40 in August of next year.  I know that I won’t be able to run quite as fast as I did in high school and college, but I will be able to lift more, go further, and challenge myself in ways that require flexibility of the soul.

“Why?”  I’m glad you asked.  Let me explain… is this the mid-life crisis return to the narcissism of youth?  Well, actually there might be a tinge of that, but I don’t think that is what is at the heart of it all.  Knowing our own hearts is certainly one of the hardest endeavors we experience this side of eternity.  There seem to be so many layers upon layers of motivations, desires and impulses that  we can soon lose the very heart we were so desperately seeking.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts” the Psalmist cried… and I’ll barrow that prayer.

Part of my motivation is to simply “be” the person I hope to be by the grace God has given.  “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.”  Another motivation is to be around longer and stay healthier to see my boys become the men of grace God will make them out to be.  My lovely bride appreciates my efforts and it is a common value we both share.  Another part of me hates it when I hear things like “well, just wait until you’re in your 40’s.”  Or when parents tell their kids that while they may enjoy a high metabolism now they’re destined to an adult life of obesity… yes, to my amazement I’ve heard these words uttered.

I finally read “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” and realized that while I have been doing a lot of things right I still have a lot of room for improvement regarding my diet.  So I committed to a stricter version of the diet for at least one year along with increasing both endurance and strength with Crossfit, Spartan Races, my own workout routines etc…

I  shared this personal goal with my wife and a few close friends and a fascinating thing occurred… most of them have begun to grow in their own motivations for change in the same areas.  Even more fascinating to me is that I’ve noticed how this renovation has energized me to make improvements in other areas of my life… as a teacher, as a coach, as a father and a friend.  So I’m putting my commitment “out there” for others so that hopefully you can find more strength for your own “mid-life crisis.”

Assuming you’ve continued reading this far, what are the areas in your life in which you hope for more?