We live in a world that seems to be obsessed with goals and deadlines. We chart, weigh, graph, check off, list, and measure in a million ways. We’re all about getting to the end. Maybe you’ve noticed, though, that while endings are where we focus our attention, most of life is happening right in the middle of it all: I’m in the middle of many things right now:
- I’m a mom of three teenage girls. They aren’t little anymore, but they aren’t grown yet either. I’m trying not to blink in case I miss it.
- I’m teaching my last year of “middle school” in our home school.
- We haven’t owned a home since we moved to Georgia several years ago, and we’re right in the middle of looking for a new place inhabit. Since it’s likely that we will downsize, I’m also in the middle of major purging and simplifying.
- Geographically my husband and I live in the middle between our two extended families. Sometimes I feel like a rubber band springing back and forth between them with my anchor point grounded in Milledgeville, Ga.
- I’m in the middle of waiting for God to reveal things. Life took a little detour a few years ago which took me away from a ministry I adored. I haven’t found my way back into that type of ministry yet, but I will, when God is ready.
- I’m staring at forty. I’m not sad about this at all. In fact, there was a time when I wasn’t sure I would see forty, so I’m pretty excited. But we all know what they call the next few decades: middle age.
So you see, this is where I live. In the middle. You probably live there too though your middle place may look very different from mine. Sometimes I love every moment of it. Sometimes I just want to get to the other side of it. Sometimes I want to stop time and never let the moment go.
I recently reread Genesis, and I realized that Abraham, Jacob and Joseph all hear God best when they are in the middle place. Abraham wandered for a lifetime, never really arriving anywhere. Blessing, inheritance and children all came to him as he waited in the middle of a promise he wouldn’t live to see fulfilled. Jacob may have escaped home to find his wives and family, but it’s on the journey, running away, and years later returning, that he dreams of a heavenly ladder, wrestles with an angel, and finds his true identity. Joseph is forced to live in a foreign land, and while he rose to power there, he never truly makes it his home, asking instead to be returned to the land of his father after his death. Without his middle place, an entire nation would have been wiped out; the course of history changed; God’s promise thwarted.
Beginnings are shiny and exciting; endings are often hard won and celebrated, but it’s the middle places where the real work is done, where the change occurs, the healing happens, the laughter and tears roll up into each other. It’s where we eat, work, play and live. It’s a glorious mess of miraculous proportions. Let’s explore it together. Adventures are so much sweeter when shared with a friend.
Dana is a pastor’s wife and home schooling mom of three beautiful teens in middle Georgia. She also owns a very needy small white dog. She’s passionate about women’s friendships, minimalism and being in the Word. You can read more from her at Deepening Years.
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