Wednesday, 26 October 2016

How to Keep Moving When You Are Stuck In the Middle

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.

Dreary.

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. 
Zechariah 4:6

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. 

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27 comments:

  1. "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." Yes, yes, yes! I in a "middle position" myself these days, and I just keep telling myself, "Just do the NEXT RIGHT THING." Thank you for reinforcing this truth! Stopping by from the SHINE Blog Hop. :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth! Thanks for understanding! I pray that God continues to be our vision when we find ourselves stuck in the middle. Blessings to you!

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  2. Oh my word, I think you've outdone yourself with this one, Carlie. I can relate so much to the plodding and feeling the humdrum of 'the middle'. No fun.
    But you've reminded me that there's One who cheers me on to a victorious finish AND that part of the joy is in enjoying the journey. Wow. I'm pretty sure you know I needed this.
    Sending you a big hug for sharing this with us! God keeps using you to do amazing things.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

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    1. Thanks, Marva! I knew you would be able to relate. (smile) Thanks for the constant support.

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  3. Carlie, I liked this encouraging piece very much. "... no more waiting for the big moments; life is in the NOW." I couldn't agree more!

    Thanks for sharing at The Loft.

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    1. Thanks, Jerralea! It's always a pleasure visiting The Loft.

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  4. Carlie- thank you for the encouragement! Great post!

    #Faith'NFriends,
    Julie

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    1. You're welcome, Julie; thanks for visiting!

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  5. "Do not despise these small beginnings..." Oh, to remember that in those slow hard times or circumstances. Thank you and I love the photo of the turtle.

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    1. Yes, it definitely is a challenge; sometimes I feel like the tortoise. (Smile) But we can celebrate progress as we move toward completion. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. So true that being in the middle is hard. We should celebrate the little steps more. It might not seem like we're making much progress at the time but they all add up in the end.

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    1. They certainly do, Lesley. Let's remember to always celebrate the little steps.

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  7. This is so great, because the truth is that most of life is "mundane faithfulness" in the middle. God is there in the middle, too.

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    1. Amen to that, Michele. Don't know what I'd do if He wasn't there. Thanks for speaking the profound truth.

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  8. This is wonderful encouragement! When I think about it, so much of life really is "middle ground." We find ourselves spending many years in the middle of our career, the middle of our ministry, the middle of our marriage, the middle of parenthood, just to name a few. Praise God for His grace that helps us to persevere, and for His presence every step of the way! Thanks so much for sharing this at Grace & Truth.

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    1. You're welcome, Jennifer; it's always a pleasure visiting and linking at Grace & Truth. And I join you in singing praises to God for being ever present in the 'middle' with us. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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  9. Love this! Enjoyed the topic of being in the "middle" and all that means. So true and I could relate. The Zechariah verses are some of my favorites! Thanks for this:(

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    1. Thanks, Gretchen! Yep, that verse ' by His Spirit' reminds me to lean heavily into Him, when I'm plodding through life. Glad you could relate. :)

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  10. I love that verse in Zechariah. There have been so many times where I’ve felt that “small beginnings” weren’t very worthy, but with the Lord, nothing is small. And no middle is muddled. I love that Casting Crowns song. A friend gave us the CD and I’ve listened to it over and over.

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    1. Yay, Lisa! Casting Crowns is one of our favorite groups! So biblically sound! Thanks for the wisdom - 'no middle is muddled'. It reminds me that God is working out His plan all along.

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  11. So good, Carlie! I think as that going gets dreary (dare I say "boring"?), I attentions get distracted and we take our eyes off Jesus and the goal. It's when we step off the track and end up feeling even more disillusioned. It's that self-discipline to keep our eyes on Him and know that even in the "boring" middle, He is doing things beyond our imagination. The laundry, the lessons, the grocery shopping, each little decision is a part of God's perfect plan! Thanks, friend, for sharing hope for when we are stuck in the middle this week at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Lori! 'Even in the "boring" middle, He is doing things beyond our imagination.' I'm so thankful for that! Blessings to you, My friend!

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  12. Carlie this is so encouraging! I'm so glad God is in our now and in our next step and working all around us!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Crystal, I'm so glad you were encouraged! It's such a pleasure to visit your site... so refreshing! Blessings!

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  13. Hello Carlie! Or should I say, Mommy (tee hee). Your post was inspirational and I enjoyed reading it!

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