Learning in the Middle

It's a well-known fact that the middle is the least exciting part of anything. The middle of a movie is filled with small setbacks leading to the exciting part, the end. The middle of a 14-page essay feels like the worst. The middle of the backseat of a van for 12 hours is actually the worst.

Yet here we are, in the middle.

In the middle where we end up watching Parks and Rec instead of praying. In the middle where we wake up already looking forward to taking a nap. In the middle where the days take forever to pass by yet are gone in the time it takes to turn the calendar page.

Yes, we're here in the middle.

The middle is frustrating because not only is it boring, but we know, deep down, that it shouldn't be. After all, there's so much excitement in the kingdom of God that how could we be bored? But it is here in middle where we struggle to see past the long list of things to do and people to meet and Instagram pictures to post. Things get hazy, and we start to lose sight of Jesus because we feel like to come to Jesus means that we have to get our act together, and we just don't have time for that right now. We think that coming to Jesus will look the same now as it did in an earlier part of our season, and we just can't get back to that place.

I'm here to remind us both that God is here with us in the middle. He invites us to follow Him now with just as much grace as He did when we were first saved. He isn't afraid of the middle. The middle isn't too long and awkward for Jesus to come and do His thing.

It is time that we stopped fearing the middle, too. It is time to cease fearing the place where the fog of the future and the mess of the past collide to create the present. It is time to stop wishing that we could go back or forward or sideways or whatever. It is time to follow Jesus, one step at a time, one moment at a time, even in the middle. Even when life's painfully normal. Even when we're confused.

Because however normal or confused or unmotivated life can get, these commands ring true:

"The most important is this, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

(Mark 12:39-31, emphasis mine)

Perhaps if we obeyed these commandments, the middle wouldn't be such a wearisome place. Perhaps it is love for God and love for others, not love for ourselves and our current position in life, that will help us to get up on a Wednesday morning and chose to smile and have joy. Perhaps it is that kind of love that will motivate us more than any #MondayMotivation.

When our lives are about loving God and loving people, the painfully normal days take on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, life isn't about what we're feeling or doing or wishing. Life is vibrant with opportunities, big and small, to obey God and love others.

May we obey these commands as they bring purpose and light to the middle seasons of our lives.

Praise the One who wastes nothing and brings everything into His glory. Praise the One who is with us in the middle, not demanding perfection but commanding love. Praise the One who is the beginning, the end, and every moment in between, including this one.

Let's start in the middle, shall we?

Princess Hannah