The Messy Middle of a Great Life


During my morning devotional, I paused from scribbling thoughts in my journal. Quietly, within myself, I asked, “God what are we doing?” While I used the pronoun we, frankly, I wanted to know and better understand His plan for this season of life. 

I’m in transition. That’s the best word I can think of to describe this phase. I’m forging ahead, full-throttle, full-heart on some things and have pressed pause on some people and places. I’m more conscious of why I choose to say yes or no. I’m more of aware of what I need—and way more honest about it too. I’m untangling myself from the things I’m “supposed” to do and want. 

I'm growing. And that can be uncomfortable, sometimes painful. Growth requires you to do or say things you’ve never done or said before. It calls to mind thoughts you’ve never considered. It’s also VERY SCARY. That’s why I needed to know something, anything. And why I, with quiet desperation, asked: What are we doing? 

I’m putting you back together.

Oh. I didn’t know I was broken?

Yes, that’s exactly how it went. I didn’t expect a ‘response’ per se. Typically, during this quiet, daily reflection time, there isn’t as big an aha moment as this. 

Here’s the thing. I feel fine. I’m not super worried about anything in particular. Work is good. Family is healthy and full of love. There are ups and downs, but for the most part, life is going along well.  I may not know the final destination but I have a sense of the direction of my life. By all appearances, there is nothing broken. 

But being confronted with this got me to thinking. We’ve grown up with this concept of life being very black and white, dismissing all the gray areas. People often talk of their valleys and mountaintops; good times and bad; rock-bottom and plateaus. What about those ‘middle moments?’ You know when you’re on your way up (or down)? No one magically appears in either destination. There’s a process or journey that gets us there. There’s a transition. Along the way, you say hello or goodbye to some people and opportunities. And God gets to do some heart work. He gets to correct, fill in some gaps, make a few soul adjustments, if you will. It’s not perfect and doesn’t feel awesome all the time. It’s complicated. And it gets a little messy.

I'm reminded of Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.

Again, we like to think of life in terms of good or bad. In actuality, a lot of us make it to good, but don't press on toward great. Fear will tell you greatness just isn’t worth the risk. Be happy with what you got—it could be worse. The catch is, it could be better. This is just my interpretation of the brokenness I can identify within my own life. It's pretty good, but Jesus came so that we may have life more abundantly (John 10:10). 

Here’s my advice to myself and you too: be open to His fixing…even if you don’t realize what’s broken or you feel just fine. It just might lead you down the path of greatness and abundance He purposed just for you. Know that you won’t go through it alone. 

Getting through that messy middle will test your faith, but ‘your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’ (James 1:2-4, NLT). 


1 comment

  • This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you ❤️


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