What is Phase 3?
Life’s Third Phase - Renewal of Vision?
Someone has described life in terms of different phases. Life’s 1st phase is all to do with learning & education, “potty training to degree” you could say. I know it’s true that we never stop learning, but I am really talking about the emphasis. Life’s 2nd phase has the emphasis on RESPONSIBILITY. This has many possible facets, including the training of children, the pursuit of a career and taking on that huge mortgage. And now we come to what this is all about, life’s 3rd phase is characterised by a new flexibility and freedom in which the weighty responsibilities of phase 2 are beginning to recede. The career has reached a plateau, no more mountains to climb. You may be approaching retirement or actually retired. The children may have left home, they stand on their own feet now or would do if given a little push out of the nest! That huge mortgage may not seem so huge, it may even be finished!
Entry into ‘Phase 3’ may be gradual, you notice that the house is empty & quiet - except when the children/grandchildren return! You may have more disposable income these days. Your vision for your job may not be what it once was. However entry into ‘Phase 3’ may be sudden - redundancy or retirement or your children kidnapped and the ransom is impossible to pay! It may happen while you are quite young, if you’ve managed to avoid any of the responsibilities mentioned earlier, received an inheritance or won the lottery! You may be single or married, male or female, middle-aged or older; there are NO stereotypes. The phase you are entering is a period of release.
Release can bring its difficulties. Psychologists tell us that we humans have some basics needs, one of which is for a sense of purpose. If this sense of purpose has been anchored for years to the children or career then when these go we may become purposeless. Many will try to find new purpose through hobbies, travel, grandchildren, or even ‘silver-surfing’ (apparently that’s going in for extreme sports at an age that shocks young people)! Others may nurse a sense of grieving for what has been lost and live a life of quiet frustration.
Yet the Kingdom of God is full of endless opportunities for Christian ‘3rd Phasers’ who are more flexible and free than they have been for years, for folk who have maturity, wisdom, experience and energy (or at least know how to make the most of the energy they have got).
If you’ve reached a phase in your life when you feel free of some former commitments and priorities but you still feel God has adventure ahead for you and you’re open to it, you’re in Phase 3.
If God is saying that he has change in mind for you, and you’re responding to him, ‘Yes, tell me what it is and I’ll go with it,’ Phase 3 can provide mutual support as you find and go with his purpose.