It was a Sunday night, January of 2017.
I came home from church with my family, unsettled.
I had knots in my stomach. And it wasn't that oh-man-the-weekend-is-over-and-I-have-to-go-to-work-tomorrow type of feeling. It was more like remorse. A feeling that something was missing. I was bothered in my spirit and I felt God wanted to get my attention.
Thoughts ran through my mind. What am I living for? What will I leave behind? What example am I setting for Levy and Seth (my sons)? Why am I led by my flesh and not the Spirit? How can I love Daniela (my wife) like Christ loved the church?
And so on, and so on...
What stuck out was a sense that I wasn't leading my family the way God wanted me to. I wasn't intentional about building a consistent altar and leading them in worship and the study of God's Word. What followed was a personal challenge to lead them in the presence of God for 7 straight days. This was the start of Altarpreneur. I began studying the 'altar' in-depth and and have done so ever since. I learned that if the altar is not a PRIORITY, it will not become a PRACTICE, and if it doesn't become a practice I will never experience the POWER of the altar.
Our family motto, Keep the fire burning, is not just a motto. It is a lifestyle and a command based on the Word of God from Leviticus 6:13, 'The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.' (You can learn more about our story by watching this message on The Priority of the Altar).
You don't have to wait until you're in your 40's to experience a so-called mid-life crisis. And it doesn't have to do anything with falling into a state of depression, buying an expensive sports car, raising your chances of skin cancer by getting a fake-bake every other day, or leading a promiscuous life.
First, you have no idea when the middle of your life is.
Second, all we have is today.
Third, we don't need a third. All we have is today!
Something similar to a mid-life crisis is described in the book of Ecclesiastes which, at its core, talks about the vanity of a life lived apart from God. Without a true relationship with our God and Maker, we're like fish trying to live on dry land (what a pitiful sight). If you haven't yet came to grips with this, you can't call your experience a 'mid-life crisis.' The only meaningful mid-life crisis (or, evaluation) is one that involves repentance. It's not about being depressed because you are getting old and you want to explore new things in life to ignite some long-lost passions, it's about being sorrowful that you are not living how God wants you to live, and doing something about it.
My mid-life evaluation was none other than a response to God showing me the true state of my life.
In this process, I've learned that where there is no altar, there is no altering. My digital journal (Altarpreneur.com) started from this personal challenge that I mentioned earlier. It wasn't easy then and it's not easy today. Like Paul, I can say, 'by the grace of God, I am what I am.'
3 Blessings God Gave Me During My (Early) Mid-Life Evaluation...
1) The Blessing of a Made Up Mind
God will never choose holiness for me. He will show me, He will tell me but He won't force me. There is something powerful about a man that says YES to God, a man who has had enough with mediocrity.
I went through an exhausting and selfish cycle of listening to God's whispers and experiencing His nudging but not obeying Him, not fully committing. Now, to be clear, fully committing doesn't mean perfection. It's a commitment to progress. It's a mindset that says, No matter what, me and my house will serve the Lord.
There are many more verses we can reference on this subject but the idea is that if God has shown you that good thing He wants you to do, choose it! Commit. Lord, help us all.
2) The Blessing of Discernment
My family counts on me to make right decisions. Godly decisions. But it's hard to make the difference between what's good and what's bad if the family altar I'm building is a cocktail altar - a little bit of the world, a little bit of God, and a pinch of self-indulgence and personal gain.
The Spirit of God can't reside in a complacent heart. It's not okay to be okay with sin. If He hates it, I must hate it! Getting there means being resolute in my everyday decisions, saying NO to everything that doesn't build me up in the spirit and draw me closer to God, and YES to everything that does. And even further, being able to discern between what is good for my family and what is God's best for my family.
3) The Blessing of Contentment
When God is not my great reward (see Genesis 15:1), my everything, I'm paralyzed by FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out). I look to the left and right and think everyone else has it together and that if I engage in a life of altar-building I will somehow fall behind.
The reality is, we're all broken and in desperate need of the grace of God. Our lives may look different in the day-to-day but it's clear that, in the end, we will give an account to God for what we did with His Son Jesus Christ. Have I put my faith in Him or have I chosen to eat, drink and be merry, apart from God?
The biggest shift for me during this evaluation period was a solid understanding of who I am and whose I am. When this is established, everything else in life falls in it's proper place - family, career, hobbies, etc.
(PS - If you feel stuck and have that gut feeling, like I did, that something's not right in your life, use this 1 page Covenant Planner as a guide to help you gather your thoughts and get started on a new path...)
Keep the Fire Burning,
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
No family is an island. Join us as we share candid discussions, Biblical advice & resources to help keep God at the center of your faith, family and career.