I bought a new book just a few days ago. It’s for a Bible study that I’m about to start. This morning, I had a little extra time before I needed to get ready for the day, so I thought maybe I would pick it up, and get a head start on reading. As I walked across the room to grab the book, I felt that familiar nudge from the Holy Spirit telling me not to read that book, but to read another – one that I had started a while back, but hadn’t read in a while. This happens to me often, and when I read what God urges me to read, it is always exactly what I need to hear. So, I went in search of this other book, It’s Not Supposed to be This Way, by Lysa Terkeurst. (Side note, if you’ve had any kind of disappointment in your life, do yourself a favor and read this book).
So I read a couple of chapters, and find myself in tears by the time I’m finished. Once again, I’m blown away by the perfection of its timing. Sometimes I think God somehow has me wait to read to things until He knows it’s the right time. Anyway, this section of the book is all about being in the midst of your situation. Maybe you’re not still in the worst of it, but you’re not yet in the healing, or resolution, of it either. The author compares it to walking a tightrope. It’s such a frightening place to be. Afraid to look forward because what if you never make it to the end? Afraid to look back because what if you regress back to that place? Afraid to look down because what if you completely fall? It can be terrifying to be stuck in the middle ground.
The next chapter goes on to discuss how God uses your longsuffering to prepare you for exactly what He has for you to do. He prepares you for glorious things, but in His way and in His timing. Enduring the pain is part of the process. The middle is part of the process. The end is part of the process, too. But the suffering is not the point. The suffering is just how we learn and how we grow. It’s necessary, but it isn’t the point. The work that comes from it is the point. This is where I can get bogged down and struggle.
And this is where it starts to get good.
Just yesterday, I was talking with my counselor about how I’m in this funky place where I feel kind of stuck in the middle. I’m not in a really dark place. I’m not in a really manic place. But I’m also not in a peaceful place. I’m fidgety and agitated. I’m in a place of unrest, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. And I’m not really digging it so much. The thing I like least about it is that I feel like I can’t really dig in and do the work that God has for me to do. I feel somewhat blunted and stifled. I feel disconnected, so doing the work is more difficult. She challenged me to try to look at things with a different perspective, which is good, so I’ll be doing that. After reading these chapters today, I think that may be a little easier.
I’ve been so focused on what I can do when I’m in one particular mindset that I think I’ve missed some of the preparation that God has been doing in me along the way. I think I’ve missed so many of the other things I’ve learned, so many of the ways I’ve grown and changed. And, if I’m being completely honest, I think maybe I’m scared. I think maybe God is telling me that I’m ready, and I’m still thinking that I’m not. So maybe I’m looking for reasons to not show up and do the work.
It’s definitely something I will be thinking about. One thing is for sure, I feel more equipped and more courageous that I did yesterday. I just love how God steps in with His words of wisdom when we need them the most. And I’m so thankful that I have the sense to listen.