Happy Thursday, friends! It’s the day this blog offers a “two-fer.” First, I encourage you to click the link and read my new column at Wake Forest Today (Junk Information is a Very Real Threat to Freedom); and then I’ll follow-up with today’s Life, Gratitude, Faith, & Passion post.
FIRST, MY COLUMN: I try to strike a different note in my news column, so it’s a markedly different experience from reading “just another blog post.” This week – and the “tease” is below – focuses on the threat to freedom tied to being such rapacious consumers of rumor, distortion, propaganda, and misinformation.
“Like junk food, too many Americans are becoming addicted to junk information. It is readily available, it is unhealthy, it is easy to consume, and too few of us have the self-discipline to make sure that it does not make us ill….” (click here for full article)
NOW MY POST: Wednesday I met a couple of friends for lunch. Great guys, great conversation. I enjoy the flexibility my work gives me to drive clear across Raleigh and meet people where they are, in the middle of the day.
One of my friends has a significant birthday coming up. It involves a “zero,” and he’s not 100% enthusiastic about the idea. I said something about how the aging process has – in many ways – made me more vital and alive, or at least more clearly focused in terms of who I am. And he said something about how hard it is to be focused at all when life is so fragmented and busy.
SELF: We talked about how our sense of identity shifts over time. When we’re young it’s very physical; our sense of self is tied to our bodies, how we look, and what we’re capable of.
Then so much is focused on our children; we own their successes, failures, dreams, disappointments, struggles, and more.
“Over the past decade, so much more of who I am has become vested in my spiritual self,” I said. “And that’s helpful because the physical part involves increasing wear and tear, inevitable maintenance issues come along, and at some point this body is going to die.”
FAITH: For me, rediscovering my spiritual identity as the primary sense of who I am has been liberating in many ways. Especially when we consider that we were created from the get-go as spiritual beings. Faith is not add-on, after-market, optional, or superfluous; it’s integral to who we are as whole people.
Our conversation observed that at some points of life – especially when work is grueling and family is overwhelming – it’s easy to lose track of any coherent sense of self. Quite often the “mid-life crisis” is a direct response to not knowing who we are.
But our identity as spiritual beings can be consistent; it doesn’t matter what age we are. Knowing who we are as beloved children of God is a sense of identity that answers those difficult questions of middle life. It also puts us in a stronger position to enjoy our role as husbands, wives, parents, professionals, single people, friends, colleagues. You name it.
YOUNG! I honestly believe I’m more alive, and vital, and engaged with God’s calling on my life today than I was when I was a so-called “young” man.
This is good news for all people, of any age; it’s the good news of living like we mean it – because God most certainly does.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.