The 10 Spiritual Developmental Tasks of Midlife

Aug 15 2018

Developmentally, midlife can be a turbulent time indeed.  Up to this point the central energies of our lives have been dedicated primarily to learning how the world works and trying, sometimes desperately, to figure out how we fit into this expanding and confusing calliope.  

It's in midlife that we quite unintentionally and unwillingly start looking inward trying to figure out how we operate and how we ourselves fit into ourselves.  Even the words are confusing, the actual process is downright confounding; so much so that some of us never do find clarity; neither in our relationships with ourselves, nor our relationship with God. 

This self-understanding process provides the developmental "stuff" of midlife.  We enter midlife feeling perhaps more confident than we ever did; almost cocky.  We leave midlife wondering how we could ever be so complacent as to feel so puffed-upped.  In the interim we hopefully learn the central learning task of this demanding stage, that we are not only fallible but we are also broken. 

 Such a personal revelation can shatter us.  Of course this revelation unfolds very slowly; so slowly that some of us never really understand that our whole psychological foundation is shifting, as if a tectonic plate of the earth's crust was moving right under us without our knowledge. 

The Ten Spiritual Developmental Tasks of the Midlife Years 

My research has identified ten specific tasks that need to be addressed in the spiritual life arenas of the middle stage of life.  Even though these ten tasks seem to be universal, i.e., everyone does need to address them, it I most important to clearly understand that each person addresses these ten in their own way.  No two people address these ten in the same way.  God created us each differently, individually; we are called to come to a clearer understanding of our own authentic spiritual personality as we mature.  The results on this profile should help you to do exactly that. 

I’ve written a novel The Nun and the Doctor that uses the 10 Spiritual developmental tasks of midlife.  When you purchase the book I’ll also send you a document that identifies the 10 developmental tasks of midlife and chapter references for each in the book. 

I think that every person in their middle years needs to know about these 10 midlife spiritual developmental tasks.  I have constructed an online, self-study course, Johnson Institute Course 109: The Spiritual Developmental Work Unique to the Middle Years:  Ages 45-65 that thoroughly covers this important life-transformative materials.  

Assumptions of Spiritual Development

The following assumptions under gird the SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENTAL TASKS OF MIDLIFE Program:

  • Spiritual development is ongoing.
  • Each stage and each phase of life offers specific opportunities for spiritual growth.
  • Each of us grows in our own unique way within the framework of the specific work of that life stage.
  • There exists a spiritual developmental growth imperative.
  • God has invested each of us with a unique “code” for our own spiritual growth.
  • When must actively participate in our spiritual growth, it doesn’t happen by itself.
  • If and when we fail to actively participate in our ongoing spiritual growth, we suffer consequences beyond stunted growth; we experience pain of one sort or another.
  • Spiritual growth is to some degree intertwined with all other human growth: physical, emotional, psychological, etc. We are holistic beings, one level of growth cannot dramatically outpace the others: we are body, mind AND spirit.
  • Spiritual growth occurs in some orderly sequence.
  • Happiness comes from appropriately addressing the various work, or tasks of our life.


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