Women in Their 40’s-  Fruit, Freedom, and Fine-Tuning Voice

So many women dread the big 4-0, but I’m happy to tell you that typically, the 40s are a GREAT decade for women.   While your body does seem to start to exhibit signs of wear and tear more significantly in this decade (hello wrinkles and slowing metabolism);  internally, many women are actually gaining strength and stability.

Remember the image of the struggling young homestead?  (see my post on the 30’s)  Now picture your homestead a decade later in full production with various orchards and crops.  Instead of freshly tilled fields, leggy vines, and green sprouts, you have solid, maturing fields and trees.  You have developed a working system and you don’t quite feel as physically stretched as you were at the start-up season of your career or family.   You know a little bit more about what you are doing… and that feels good.

Some things you might be experiencing in this decade include:

You are harvesting the FRUIT from the earlier seasons of pruning.   The long-term mentality you developed by the laying down of certain hopes and dreams, the pouring of your life into others, the engagement with the painful pieces of your past, all lead to fruit in due time.   First fruits comes in many different forms… character formation, expertise, relational health, confidence, perspective, and increased spiritual authority and power in gifting.   Take a moment every once in a while to stop and look around at the people and places which receive nourishment from the fruit of your life.   Well done!

You find FREEDOM from your unrealistic standards.   There’s a reason middle-aged women run to the store in their sweats, because we don’t care what others think of us anymore.  That plant that is dead in the entryway for the entire winter… oh well.  Your teen hasn’t showered in 2 weeks?  Wasn’t not worth the battle. Spend 3 hours making a special dessert for the party?  No thanks, you can pick up something on the way.  Yes, you still have weird places of perfectionism, but overall, you’re steadily releasing the crazy standards you have held for yourself to be have the perfect life, body, career, home, and family.

You are learning to SPEAK UP.   As women get back in touch with themselves after a season of surrendering their needs and desires to others, they may go through a phase of speaking up more forcefully for what needs to be done. One of my friends’ husbands actually googled what was happening with women in their 40’s because he couldn’t figure out what happened to his easy-going wife.   Some women find the natural love and compassion which enabled them to keep peace at all cost suddenly dries up.  The boss or friend who always knows how to get you to do what they want, the kid who has gotten away with way too much, the husband who has unhealthy demands may be shocked at your ability to say no and at times will be hurt by your seeming coldness.  These types of boundaries are messy in the beginning, but they are healthy development that forces changes in the system.  Go with it.  You will eventually get more gracious.  

OR You are learning to SHUT UP.  Some of us haven’t had a problem with using our voice (by personality or by wounding) and have actually used our assertiveness to manage others and sometimes even control them.  You may find yourself with a different invitation… to be quiet.   Maybe you’ve tried from multiple angles to convince someone you love of what you think needs to be done.   Maybe your strong leadership gifting has kept others from fully stepping out in confidence and you need to speak less and help them discover their voice.   You, too are breaking patterns- encouraging others to step forward in new ways and refusing to enable passivity in someone else.  Believe me, a normally articulate, assertive woman who has gone silent speaks volumes.   BUT expect that things will not be done the way you would do them.  You will be learning a lot about trust in God and others as you relinquish control of doing it your way.

You finally start to accept the LIMITATIONS of your personality.    This is the time in adulthood where, as my sister would say, we “step through the window of reality” and start to more deeply receive how we are wired.  We all have things we’ve been trying to change about ourselves since we were young:  our introversion or extroversion, our tendency to loose the big picture and get stuck in details, our intense emotional side or rational approach to everything, our need for less chaos and more order.  By your 40’s, you may start to accept some of this is hard-wired and not necessarily a character issue.  The critical tracks of self-acceptance are being laid… knowing who you are NOT is just as important for your next phase as knowing who you ARE.

You step through the window of reality about others too.   Learning to accept our own limitations means we grow in receiving others for who they really are too.  Many of our romanticized ideas about people and their ability to change die in your 40’s, particularly in our closest relationships.   You parents may never be the emotional support you need.  You partner may not take the initiative very often.   This can be a dark time as you try to picture the rest of your life with that person/relationship as it is.  But this is actually an important phase of allowing unrealistic expectations to die in order to clarify what is realistic in asking to change.  You may need a safe place to process your disappointment and to discern what to accept about someone else and where to keep contending for growth.  

You’re getting set up to move more fully into a season of SECOND CALLING.  Towards the latter half of our 40s through early 50’s, women move towards a time of transition in vocation that Dale Hanson Bourke calls, “Second Calling.”  You may cycle into another season of self-discovery and exploration as you feel the longings to do something “more”–  more meaningful, more aligned with your gifting, more risky, more challenging.  This is a natural transition point for women who are empty nesting, but in fact, single women, career women, and even stay-at-home moms with kids moving towards junior high and high school start to feel this restlessness as well.   Now will be the time to explore how to integrate some of your skills, gifting, experiences, and authority into new or expanded areas of passion and calling.  Don’t get fixated on marketable skills;  women tend to use their gifts more widely than just vocation, in the community, home, family, leadership roles and you will carry these learnings into your next season of life.  (More on “Second Calling’ for women in my next post.)   

Overall, you will find yourself a little more unflappable in your 40’s.  You’ve weathered your share of storms, so when another squall comes up on the horizon, you’re not completely undone or unprepared.   Enjoy this season of relative stability because another exciting season of transition looms on the horizon.

{By the way, if you find yourself limping your way through your 40’s, don’t panic.   Remember this series focuses predominantly on life stage transitions.  There are plenty of other types of transitions that could fall in your 40’s that could make this a very difficult season (i.e. divorce, a death, ongoing care-taking roles, a health crisis, etc.).   If you don’t feel like you align with some of the ‘typical’ life stage transitions of the decades, learn why here.}

A Blessing for the Woman in Her 40’s

I bless the fruit of your labors today…

the relationships that you have tended,

the prayers you have prayed,

the roots that have grown,

and the hearts for which you have contended.

I bless the fruit of your labors today…

the risks you have taken,

the lines you have drawn,

the doors you have kicked down,

and the doors you have opened.

I bless the fruit of your life to come…

the soil of the fields left unsown,

the gifting yet to be discovered,

and the trails you have yet to blaze.

I bless you the fruit of your labors today.


Amy Galloway

If I am not writing on this blog... I am either doing a power consult with someone about what they should do with their lives, desperately trying to avoid the chocolate in my kitchen drawer, sitting on my terrace drinking coffee with God, talking a teenager down from the ledge, giving my husband "helpful" insights about how to run our team, or taking a Spanish siesta.

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Amy Galloway
About me

If I am not writing on this blog... I am either doing a power consult with someone about what they should do with their lives, desperately trying to avoid the chocolate in my kitchen drawer, sitting on my terrace drinking coffee with God, talking a teenager down from the ledge, giving my husband "helpful" insights about how to run our team, or taking a Spanish siesta.


What are your Life Sermons?
September 24, 2019
Option Overload– Which Door Should I Walk Through?
April 06, 2018
Welcome to Mid-life: Reflection, Regrets, and the Emotional Rollercoaster
August 26, 2017
When You are Launching a Struggling or Difficult Child
June 03, 2017
Negotiating the Dance of Calling as Couples
January 24, 2017
Starting a New Chapter… Where do I begin?
April 30, 2016
What’s Happening in Your 30’s: Expansion, Exhaustion, and Hard Work
February 08, 2016
What Type of Transition are you in?
January 02, 2016

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