I have been living in the middle. I have been living in the waiting. So basically, I’m in the season of waiting in the middle. It is unsatisfying, frustrating, heart breaking, stressful, and it robs my rest. Did you watch the series finale of The Middle? My family has so many similarities to the Heck family. I cried all the way through the finale and I probably only watched a handful of episodes when it was on. I’m not sure why, perhaps it seemed like my life was in the show and I already knew the story. I did watch the finale because I wanted a glimpse into how it all turned out. I wanted to see the end. That’s the thing isn’t it? We always want to see the end, so we can get through the middle. At the start we can’t wait to get to the middle because then we know we are almost there.
I have spoken recently to my best friend about how I’m unsatisfied with my performance in life. I have a great life that I fully do not deserve, don’t get me wrong, I am well beyond blessed. She knows that as do I. It is only that I am not sure that I have or that I am really contributing anything to the world at large. I’m not so sure I am a very good example to my children. She said to me, “Maybe you need to reevaluate your definition of success.” Maybe…
I told my husband this weekend that I feel like I’m always in the middle waiting. Before we moved it was waiting for the house to sell so we could get on with our lives, now it’s waiting for a school to call and give me a job so I can feel like I’m making a difference somewhere in the world. Always waiting for my kids to have confidence in themselves, for them to see themselves how they really are and not how they tell themselves they are or how some stupid kid saw them in high school. Waiting for a friend to call, waiting for direction, waiting for a sign from God as to what my purpose and direction is supposed to be because here I am still waiting and wondering if my life has even mattered at all. He asked me one question, “Have you been having trouble living in the moment?” Have I?
I then happened upon a picture on Facebook that had a list of successful people and it said that they were all basically broke or had been fired or were working doing things they didn’t necessarily want to be doing when they were twenty-three. Now they are all very successful and it said it was all going to be ok. Well I’m not twenty-three anymore, so I asked the question, “Sure, but what were they doing at forty-five?” My oldest daughter decided to look it up and see just where they were at forty-five. The were all going to movie premiers and hosting award shows and the like and I was tempted to become quite discouraged all over again.
I’ve been listening to a few preachers online. I’m trying to get over this negative track that likes to play in my head. One preacher in particular was saying that we spend more time listening to ourselves and less time talking to ourselves. It’s true. I spend a lot of time listening to the ongoing playlist. “God would never use you, you are ridiculous. God doesn’t even talk to you anymore. When is the last time you wrote anything?” “You are too old, you are too broken.” “You are too sinful, What did you just say about that other driver?” “Don’t you remember what you were told when you were a kid? You are ugly and you will NEVER amount to anything!” “Give up no one reads your writing anyway unless they are related to you.” STOP! The preacher said that we need to spend more time talking to ourselves. We need to spend more time preaching to ourselves. He also said that we talk ourselves out of what God has planned for us.
Another time he did a sermon that we are in the middle. Salvation means we are not what we once were, but we are not what we want to be. He said that we need to look back to see how far we have come, that the expectation is that as we grow we get closer to Christ, but the thing is we stay in the middle. When we start getting close He moves forward. I take that to mean that the finish line keeps moving. We need to recognize how far we have come but still be mindful of where we are going.
I think I’ve figured it out now. I’ve continued to keep looking forward at things that seem to take too long. I see it as taking a step forward and two steps back. I just keep forgetting to look back. Oh sure, the saying don’t look back you don’t live there anymore is what you are thinking. But here’s the thing, if you never look back to see how far you have gone you will not be able to appreciate the middle. You won’t be able to see that He is in the middle too. He isn’t just in the beginning to get your started on your journey and then he skips ahead and is waiting until we get to Heaven to ask us what took us so long. I wasn’t until my daughter showed me where all those “successful” people were at forty-five that my ‘yeah but’ showed up. I have even listened to another preacher talk about the ‘yeah but’. Weeks ago, I listened to this and I’ve listened to all of these messages more than once. What can I say, apparently I’m a slow learner?
My yeah but did arrive as I was reading where they were. So here’s mine: Sure I have not written any best sellers that have been made into movies, I haven’t hosted an award show, I haven’t landed a job that I had planned for myself, BUT by the age of forty-five I have had three children, two of which have already earned associate degrees and are working on their bachelor degrees. I have managed to put food in their bellies and no one has ended up in the hospital due to my cooking. I have lost my mother and fallen into the pit and fallen off my beam for far too long and by the grace of God gotten back on again. I have had a miscarriage and while I miss having my number four I haven’t missed my children because of the loss of the one. I have written and published two books that didn’t become New York Times best sellers but at least ten people that I am not related to have read them and one time someone left a review that said my book helped them to see God. I have moved away from everything and everyone I ever knew and while two years later I haven’t got everything down pat here I have become braver than I ever was. I’ve been uncomfortable. I’ve met new people that I never would have met and I am eternally blessed to know them. I have repeatedly show that when I get knocked down I can, with help, get back up again. Why? Because HE is in the middle. HE is in the waiting.