It's hard being in the middle.
Gone are the hope-filled feelings of a new beginning - the thrill of adventure - a tinge of fear mixed with a dollop of excitement, the child-like expectation of grand things to come.
You know those feelings. At the beginning, everything seems POSSIBLE. You are sure you can make it. Life is full of potential and should there be any hurdles you are sure to sail over them.
Whatever your beginning may be - enrolling in college to chase your dream, accepting that new job that promises more, marrying the one you can't live without... designing a bespoke home education plan for your children. Yeah, at the beginning it all seems so POSSIBLE.
But in the middle... it's different here.
It's not like at the end.
The end is a joyous time overflowing with celebration and steeped in relief. The words 'well done' echo all around you... filling you with a deep satisfaction. The POSSIBLE has become reality. No one can steal your happiness as you march up those stairs to accept your college degree, receive that long sought promotion at work, celebrate yet another anniversary, or savor the successes of your children.
Yes, the end is like a double happiness. Brimming with the joy of completion, you gaze excitedly, hope-fully at the new beginning ahead of you. For a new beginning always follows the end.
But in the middle... life can be hard.
Every day is more of the same. Every step seems tediously slow. Plod. Plod. Plod.
Have you ever wondered what the tortoise was thinking?
No. Not at the beginning. Not when he challenged the hare to a race. At the beginning, he was probably pretty optimistic. Victory seemed POSSIBLE, if even a little improbable.
But, right there in the middle, when the hare had long gone past him, when the end was not even in sight, what was he thinking?
What made him keep taking one more step? Step by laborious step, what kept him going?
Devoid of the positive emotions that accompany the beginning and end of a major goal, the ‘stuck-in-the-middle’ blahs can drain your energy and rob you of the ‘get-up-and-go’ that you need to keep going. To be honest with you, sometimes it is just plain exhausting to lift that foot up and take yet another step.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way.
What if we infused the dreary middle with all the anticipation of the beginning and the celebration of the end? What if we look forward to each next step with joyful expectancy - a period of time pregnant with POSSIBILITY - and sigh with deep satisfaction at the culmination of each tiny feat accomplished.
What if we saw each step taken as a victory – a cause to celebrate? I mean no more waiting for the big moments; life is in the NOW. It takes courage and boldness and most of all determination to keep moving forward, so why not celebrate our plodding.
But, let’s be real, friends. To change my mindset and celebrate my daily plodding is a greater exploit than I can manage on my own. When it comes to sowing positive thoughts and harvesting fruitful actions, I am still rather weak and inconsistent. But thankfully, I don’t travel alone, and my Travel Partner is all-powerful and unchanging.
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’
says the LORD Almighty.
Yes, God has a plan for my NOW and for my next steps, and He is working all around me. While I choose to trust Him to be my Vision when I can't see the end, He expertly chisels and molds my character, working into me steadfastness, perseverance, endurance, and a willingness to be used by Him in all my next steps... a painful but glorious process. One I am grateful to be a part of.
Yes, in the middle is hard, but it is also where trust grows and faith blossoms, where God becomes my power when I come face to face with my weakness. Where I look with eager anticipation for the next thing God is calling me to. The. Very. Next. Thing. No matter how small in the world's eyes.
When I choose to follow God in the NOW of my journey, in the daily plodding of life, I get the thrill of seeing God gloriously at work in the small things.
Do not despise these small beginnings... Zechariah 4:10a
And I get to celebrate each victory. I get to live the victorious life he has called me to. And I get to win the race.
Step by step, the POSSIBLE blooms into reality.
What about you?
Are you feeling stuck in the middle,
trudging ever so slowly onward towards your goal,
growing weary of your small steps?
Don’t lose heart. You are not alone.
God has a road planned for you, and He is willing to walk with you.
So why not move forward in trust and
celebrate where God is taking you, step by step.