What is an existential crisis and how do you overcome it?
I want to talk to you today about that because many times we think, because we are Christian women, believers in Jesus, that we're not going to experience an existential crisis. We're not going to go through that wondering and for sure we're not. Not like the world does. But at one point or another in our lives, chances are we are going to have something along the lines of an existential crisis.
In other words, a midlife crisis, that thing where we wonder, Who am I? What is it that I do? What's my contribution to the world now? What am I good at? I used to know all of these things, but now I lack clarity. I feel like I'm up and I'm down and I'm kind of lost and I just, I'm not sure what it is that I do. I'm not confused about my reason for being, my existence, or my value. I know God loves me. I know I'm here for his purpose. But the truth is, is that the majority of midlife women between the ages of 45 and 65 admit to feeling lost, unclear, uncertain, and unfulfilled in their lives. We don't do a good service to each other when we choose not to talk about it or put it out there in the open. It's okay to say, I'm having one. I might be going through a time in my life where I just think, what is it that I'm doing? It's a midlife evaluation. It's time to think about it.
So just by definition, a midlife crisis or an existential crisis really says it. It refers to, why do I exist? Right. That's obvious. What is the purpose of my life? These feelings that I have, these questions about the meaning of not life. But my life because as a believer, I feel like we've solved those big questions. We're at peace. We know God's got us in the palm of his hand. But the truth is, is that sometimes we wonder and we feel guilty. We shouldn't because we wonder. What is it that my particular purpose is? What is the destiny that God has for me? And I think those things are easily spelled out when we're younger. I think we know that if we have children, if we have gotten married as women, then we know my purpose is to be the best wife I can be. My purpose is to be the greatest mom ever. Now you may be tempted to say my purpose is to be the best grandma ever. Those are great things. Those are wonderful things. Maybe those are even paramount. Those are the most important things. But I don't know. When God knit you together in your mother's womb, He just said, now that's what we're giving her. Great parenting skills. Great wife skills. I hope you have mad skills as a wife, a grandma, and a mom. But the truth is you probably have some skills and some talents. and some passions. Maybe you are an author, a book writer, maybe you're a screenwriter, maybe you're a singer or a vocalist, or maybe you just have a really strong desire to help women become their very best. You're a coach or a counselor. Maybe you've got a lot of wisdom from God. I hope you do. If you don't, you can ask for it.
James 1 tells us that God just wants to lavish that wisdom on us. But maybe you're someone who just is very insightful and you've got beyond common knowledge. You've got wisdom. Maybe you're musical and you can hear notes or songs or music or maybe you're creative and you can decorate something. Don't you think that God gave you those skills, those passions, those gifts and talents to use them? So, yes, be grateful. Be thankful for all the blessings that God has given you for if you have children and a husband, all those wonderful things. But that's just the beginning. That's not the fulfillment. That's not the totality, I should say, of all that is inside of you. So, I'm challenging you. What else has God called you to? Because someday, what if those things are gone? The children graduate and they leave the nest, and we know that they do. What about in my case, the husband is gone? What if you're a woman listening to this right now, and you've been married 30 or 40 years, and you have a change in relationship? A husband is gone, whether through divorce or through being a widow. But now you're wondering, What do I do now? What is my role? Those things can hurl you into what I'm talking about, this existential crisis.
What is my life supposed to be about? I just want to share with you and remind you that this is part of the human experience. You guys, God could have created us to live in any kind of dimension, a supernatural dimension. He chose this human experience and then He equipped us supernaturally, didn't he? To overcome the things. But not that we would bypass them, not that somehow we would skip over all of the things that this earth can do. There is pain, there is sorrow, there is hardship, there is difficulty. He said in this life you will have many troubles. It includes sometimes seasons of wondering, seasons of guessing, and seasons of confusion. That is the human experience and those things happen with big life changes, maybe losses, certainly COVID aftermath. Don't you feel like a lot of us are in this place? We're like this nation of post-traumatic. People trying to navigate the world and figure things out. Maybe we've still struggled with the long COVID brain fog and not knowing clarity and all the things that can happen. Kind of the onset of adulthood and sometimes just aging. That can bring on a crisis for sure. The transfer of power where other people are now in the seat of power and you've stepped away and you're like, okay, What's my influence? What do I do now? Maybe you have no goals for the future. Maybe you have forgotten to think about what is it that I want to do.
So don't be afraid of a crisis. If you're in one right now, I'm going to give you a few things that would help define if you're in a crisis and then next week. Don't forget to tune in because I'll share with you more in-depth how to overcome and what to do. But if you're in the midst of a midlife crisis, because they're often thought of as negative things, I want to reframe that for you. And if you're ever a part of the Bravehearted Woman Community, and I hope that you are. You know that we look at life on life's terms, we look at the facts and then we reframe them in the powerful perception and outlook and consideration. In other words, we say, does this experience mean the world is out to get you and everybody hates you? Does it mean that you're rejected? Does it mean that you've done something wrong or does it mean you have an opportunity to grow, to stretch, to continue to think differently about what your habits or actions are? So we want to reframe everything with a growth mindset that says, this didn't happen to me. This happened to me. All right, everybody. So don't be afraid of your crisis. It's not negative. It can have massive, powerful effects, and really good positive outcomes for you. Because for one thing, we have to get back in touch with. You have to get back in touch with what is it that you love. What is it that you value? What is it that brings you joy, meaning, and purpose?
Yes, I served my children. Yes, I served my church, and my husband and I did a lot of things, but I'm in a season right now where I've really trimmed back or I've been pruned back and I'm not sure. I'm not knowing what my next thing in life is. That's a good place to be, fresh canvas. So now we start the inward journey of discovery to find out what I love. What does make me tick? What lights me up? What fulfills me? What excites me? What thrills me? What makes me a little bit nervous and afraid? But I really know I want to go after it. What's a challenge for me that takes me out of boredom and apathy and stirs me? That's where you're going. So midlife crisis can help us evaluate. Do I love everything that I'm doing? Can I grow in an area? Can I become better? Can I rethink this differently? Do I need to go into my mindset and explore it and see does it really lines up with God's word or have I adopted some beliefs that are limiting and negative and not truth and not true for me? What about the life you want to lead? What kind of life would make you happy? What kind of involvement? What kind of strategic alliance?
All right, so you're going to adapt your actions and you're going to get a direction that if I were to continue doing exactly what I'm doing I would find myself in one year and three years and five years Very fulfilled very happy. My body would be how I need it to be my mind would be and borrowing Some intervention or some life happening that I cannot control, whatever depends on me, I would find myself in a really good space. Can you say that? So, I want to let you know that an existential crisis, a midlife crisis, what is my life all about is really common. It happens very often. Usually, they happen when we're faced with difficulties. We have something that has changed in our life. We have a new normal. As I said, after COVID, we all are experiencing a new normal, and truthfully, many have not found their rhythm yet. They just cannot get back into the groove. Remember that movie, how Stella got her groove back? Maybe you need to get your groove back. Transitions in life, we finish one season and we're thrust, hurled, we're crawling into a new season, we're limping into a new season because it was a painful transition, it didn't come by choice, it came because we were the victim of someone else's selfish decisions perhaps, or maybe they're necessary decisions, but it has left us wondering what is next for our life.
So if you feel any one of these next five things, you might be in this moment of transition, a crisis, so to speak, not of faith, you're a strong believer, or let's be fair. Maybe you are having a crisis of faith. Maybe you are wondering, I want to help you with that.
Number one, you might say, I feel lost. The world has changed so fast. My world has changed so fast. My relationships have really changed and shifted. I've maybe even experienced a loss of relationship. I'm not in the same relationships that I was before or I've lost touch with myself, my values, what I love, and my purpose. Like I've been so busy doing other things. I feel lost. I used to be clear. I used to be confident. Now I don't know. I'm aging. I look in the mirror. I'm not seeing the same reflection that I once saw. Boy, ain't that the truth? I'm unsure of what it is that I contribute to the world. Am I even relative anymore? Now, I'm not saying my value. I know my value. You might say I know God loves me. I know I'm valuable. I know my family loves me. I'm just wondering what my offering is to the world and if I'm telling the truth, I feel lost. Maybe this is you.
Number two, there's just a rise of stress in your life or mental distress. You know, I'm experiencing a little bit of this where there are so many areas of life that are coming at me very fast. They're coming at me like tennis balls coming out of one of those automated machines and I can't bat them all back fast enough. Some of it is self-inflicted. Some of it is life. You know, more is more. So you have three children. They get married. You really have six children. I have a blended family. I have eight children and the eight children have given me 12 grandchildren and now I have one great-granddaughter. They all have lives and they all have a story that's unfolding and they all are on a journey and they all have a purpose and sometimes all of their lives are coming at us in a million different directions. That creates a rise in anxiety or a rise in stress. You're praying for them all. You all want them to do, you want them to all do well, right? They're all in school now, or the baby had this, or the marriage has got that. There's just all, and that's just children. There are a lot of things in life that feel out of control. The world is changing as we know it. It's turned up on its head.
There are a lot of negative emotions right now and those negative emotions cause a constant sense of stress and we're getting a load on our body, a stress load on our body that maybe is a bit overwhelming and we can't take it all. When we think about it and that load is creating some negative thoughts and some negative feelings, the more we have those negative thoughts and those negative feelings, the more our body responds, our biological body responds and says, Oh, okay, she's having this feeling. So all right, chemicals get in line. She's speaking these words, give her the feelings that match these words. Now the repetitious pattern begins and we're feeling anxious and we have an overload of stress on our bodies and our minds. We feel sad and we feel anxious. Well, we have to think about it, look at it, evaluate it, and make some important decisions about the stress load that we have on our bodies.
Number three, when all of that is going on, it is no wonder that you have a loss of productivity. Productivity brings fulfillment. We feel happy when we produce. That's just human behavior and a truth that happy people are productive people, but with a crisis, we may have lost sight of what it is that we do. I know we're not human doings. We're human beings, and that's really cool thing to say. But the truth is, is that there has to be something that we're producing because God commanded work in the garden before the fall. So it is part of our creative creation. It's part of how we're made. God put within us the DNA of a creative being that needs to produce something, being performance with a performance orientation or performance-oriented, but we lose sight of our purpose and our why.
Are you disconnected from your why? Do you have a sense of purpose or do you feel like life feels meaningless? And you can get stuck in there. You know, we know that in the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes is all about someone who said, King Solomon is meaningless. He’s meaningless. Are you stuck in a sense of meaningless? Purpose and fulfillment because you're not tapping into your gifts and you've lost your vision without a vision People perish if you feel like everything is meaningless. What's the point, my friend may just very well be in an existential crisis and existential crisis.
The fourth telltale sign of one of these midlife crises is low energy levels, and that can just happen in your biology and can happen in your chemicals when you feel sad. Again, I said it a moment ago, your body will start to respond to that, and you can have a decrease in energy based on your moods, which are your thoughts and feelings. Sleep. When we get to this certain point in life, sometimes our sleep gets very disrupted. I want to talk to you about one of the episodes coming up about the importance of good sleep and how to make sure that you're getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep and a beautiful, replenishing, deep sleep and going into that cycle. What about your diet? You may find as you're growing and moving into midlife that you can't eat what you used to eat and that it's Bothersome sugar is bothersome. Caffeine is bothersome. Maybe you've even had some adult-onset allergies that you didn't have before because your body is changing your biochemistry is changing. We know that your hormones are changing Absolutely shifting and moving. So if your mood is low and you don't feel like moving around or engaging in as many activities as you do, you're going to find this multiplying.
Remember Newton's law? A body in motion stays in motion, but a body at rest stays in rest. He actually said an object, but I'm using it as a metaphor for our bodies. So, and that's so true right now. If you stop moving and if you rest, you will rest. So the less you move and engage in activities, the harder it is to get up and do that thing that you want to.
And then finally, you might be in a crisis if all of a sudden you notice that the support that you had around you, the social support, the relational support, maybe you were in a job place and going to work every day and that's gone now, you've lost some support. That loss of support can play a very negative role in your life. It stops us from reaching out. Our mental health can really take a hit here. If you have a loss of social relationships or changing relationships and you feel disconnected. You feel a decrease in love and support and friendship and camaraderie. You're feeling isolated and only. That will feed symptoms of anxiety and depression. So that needs to be dealt with.
So I'm going to give you a few things on what you can do, but we will dive into this in more detail next week. So for sure, the answer to all of our issues, obviously, is God and God's word. But I don't want to be cliche and I don't want to say just pray more and talk to God. So those are always the things. Talk to God and pray and be in a community of believers who will bring you up a level. But I want to tell you this, the first thing you need to do is reconnect with your purpose.
The crisis of why am I here has been solved by most of us because we believe in Jesus, so we know why we're here. But what specifically am I supposed to be doing? What is my destiny? What is my purpose? What is that one thing that he's put inside of me that I'm supposed to do that I may not be very clear on? You need to connect with it. So it's time for a discovery retreat. Whether you do that with a coach, I'm happy to do that with you. I've taken clients through that. Whether it's something that you want to just do on your own, but requires a midlife inventory. It requires a deep dive into you. It, it, there is a discovery that needs to happen. A re-imagination of all that maybe God has created you to be. That you let go dormant.
Now you just feel frustrated and you feel like maybe you've lost time and it's too late and all those lies start happening. Hold it. No, you're not done. It is time for you to rediscover your passion project and get going again in that. This is your season. For that so much more to say about that and we will to you you do need to find that social accountability The thing that's going to get you out of that slump is to tell somebody That you’re in a little bit of a season in my life where I don't know what I'm doing I feel dry. I feel lost. I feel like I'm a Garden that won't bloom. It's just weeds sticks dry. I'm in the winter season of life. So if that's you, then you need to reconnect, whether you get into a Bible study. Hopefully, you have a good church, but a small group within the church or a small group, even within the small group. Sometimes if the group is too big, you can still sit quietly, but in a coaching community, I invite you into my coaching community, the BraveHearted Woman Coaching Community that we're developing called Brave Heart University. I will share more with you about that, but you need to get into a I really believe very small group that doesn't just share woes, but with a coach, who is going to empower you with steps of clarity so you can live the best half of your life, and then your focus.
That's the third thing. Your focus, if you're focusing on all the things that have been lost. Left your life is gone, you're going to feel sad, isolated, and depressed. So you have to think about all the possibilities, all the things that are next. Yes, grateful. I am grateful for it because it's hard to be lost in bitter and grateful at the same time. But fill your mind with the right things. Get your focus and fill your mind with the right things. That's once again, the things that stimulate joy and beauty that fill you, that feed you, that grow you, that stretch you, that teach you, that train you. A book, your affirmations, your goals. I hope you have the vision board that you're looking at every day. All of those things matter. If you don't, I'm here to help you. You can reach me at braveheartedwoman.com/resources. I have a lot of gifts there for you and also have a phone call that you and I can have.
How about if we talk about where you are what you feel like you need and what a strategy could look like for you in your life to pull you out of this season? I want to help you. I'm trained to help you. I've taken. thousands of dollars worth of courses, classes, and certifications, and I am ready and prepared as the best coach for you. Let's do this thing!
All right, everybody, that's what I have for you today. This is Dawn Damon, your Braveheart Mentor. Stop by and get my free gift. It's always available. Check out those notes below and listen. I hope you'll write a review. If this has been helpful for you, share it. Let's get the message out that you love Christian motivation and you love empowering the sisterhood. All right, everybody, Dawn Damon, find your brave and live your vision!