I’ve been spending a lot of time somewhere. It’s an uncomfortable area between two places—where I am and where I want to be. I call this place “the middle”.
God called my family to an unfamiliar place away from everything I’ve ever known. It has stretched my faith further than I thought it could go. And God has used this discomfort to call me to something greater—more purpose, more influence, more life. I can’t see the full picture at this point, but I keep getting bits and pieces that leave me hungry for more.
I want more of God. I want deeper relationships. I want a stronger marriage. I want more wisdom in my parenting. I want the tools, connections, and ability to pursue my calling.
And then there’s the reality of where I am at this moment. I’m not where I want to be in all of those things. My husband and I still have conflict. Parenting leaves me exhausted and perplexed at times. I don’t have the resources and the time to write and create art as much as I’d like to.
I have a lot of hope and excitement for the future of my writing. I love to write. I love to share my ideas, my thoughts, and the journey that God has me on. But I don’t have hours and hours to just sit and write. I don’t even have a desk. I have a journal that I take with my wherever I go. I write when the kids are playing at the park. I jot something down in the morning or write for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Sometimes my husband is so amazing and he takes the kids out for a couple hours so I can work. I do what I can when I’m able to. In the middle.
Another passion of mine is art. I’ve loved art since I was little, but rarely find time to paint now that I have kids. So, basically, it’s been on the backburner for nine years. Recently, though, I’ve been making it a priority and squeezing it in when I can. I watch YouTube tutorials after the kids go to bed. I spend time with the kids learning new drawing techniques together.
When you’re learning, there’s this tension of embracing where you’re at and knowing where you want to be. This can either be very frustrating and shame-producing or it can be fun! The difference is being able to embrace the middle.
I recently purchased a new art book by Jane Davenport. I am absolutely in love with her work! She uses mixed media to create such fun and whimsical pieces. I look at her artwork and wish I could create like she does right now. But I’m not there yet. And that’s ok because I love learning and I’m getting a little less uncomfortable being in the middle.
It hasn’t always been this way for me, though. I’m a recovering perfectionist, so the middle has historically been a shame-inducing place for me. Because I despised the middle, I had some unhealthy responses when I found myself there.
Shame was always the first thing to rise up in me when I found myself in the middle. When I could see where I wanted to be—what I should be good at, what I should know or understand, what I should be able to do—and I wasn’t there, I felt ashamed. Shame is given place in our lives when our identity is out of whack, when we believe something about ourselves that isn’t true. In my case, I believed that my self-worth came from being smart and good at everything. If I’m not instantly excelling in some area, there’s something wrong with me.
When I believe this about myself, I do one of two things: I put on a mask to cover up my inability or I just give up. In other words, I pretend I’ve already passed through the middle successfully and I’m on the other side or I intentionally avoid the middle. Either way, I’m evading the very space where learning and growing occurs.
What has made the difference in my life is accepting the grace of God and finding my identity in Jesus. Jesus is not afraid of our mess. He is not ashamed of us when we find ourselves in the middle. In fact, He accepts us right where we are and guides us through whatever process or journey we are on. God loves to meet us in the middle.
When I know the truth of who God says I am, I become empowered. Shame and fear can’t stop me. I’m no longer concerned with my reputation among men—of looking dumb, inexperienced, unwise, incapable, or untalented. I embrace myself where I am and continue moving forward to where I want to go.
What I’m learning as I continue in this journey is that there’s actually no end to it. There’s always more. There’s more to learn. There are more ways I can grow and mature. There’s always room for my relationships to improve. And, of course, there’s always more of God to know and experience.
Some may find that frustrating (and honestly there are times I do too), but that is the beauty of life. There is always the possibility of more.
Don’t get discouraged when you find yourself in the middle. EMBRACE where you are and obtain VISION for where you want to be. Continue moving forward. Share your journey with others because it encourages them on their way. Don’t concern yourself with your reputation. Ask God what He thinks of you.
When you’re overcome with fear, do what scares you. When shame rises up and you feel like hiding, come into the light. Share your struggles with trusted friends and invite people into your journey. Together, let’s normalize the middle. Let’s boast in our weaknesses and show others that they don’t have to fear the process.
Let’s stop pretending we’re perfect, sinless, and right about everything and embrace the beautiful mess that we are! When we let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are, we give others the ability to love our true selves and we allow God to shine in our weakness.
I appreciate your feedback! How can you relate to this? In what areas of your life do you find yourself in “the middle”? Have you become discouraged, believing life would be better if only you could reach your destination? Please comment below!