A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast by Paul Tripp entitled God and Surprises. It was one of those subjects that stayed with me, and I kept thinking about it long after.
In the podcast, Paul talked about a disruption in his schedule and an embarrassing line of reasoning he’d gotten caught up in.
This embarrassing line of reasoning proposes that “there is no benefit ever to the interruption of the plan. It basically says that life is not about the process. Life is only about what you get at the end of the process. This embarrassing line of reasoning basically believes that the middle—the confusing, surprising middle—has no meaning or purpose greater than being a means to the end.”
And then Paul goes on to say: “God does some of his very best work in the middle of the process.”
That quote, that reminder, hit me square in the gut.
We can’t avoid the middle. There’s no way around it. We’re all going to have surprises and unexpected things come our way. And I want to live my happy and content even in the middle—in the midst of the bumps and the unexpected.
The start of 2022 has not gone as planned for me. My writing has been sidelined by some emergencies with our business. I feel as tired as a piece of discarded clothing tossed into a ditch. And I’m disappointed that the beginning of the year wasn’t more hit-the-ground-running successful.
It’s hard to start off the new year already behind on my goals.
And yet…through these unexpected turns of the last weeks, I have been calm. Or at least calm for me. That’s not to say I haven’t cried or complained, because I’ve certainly had those moments. But I also keep coming back to that podcast and thinking: God is in the middle. He does his best work in the middle. Trust him in the middle. God wants me to walk with him, and the rest will fall into place.
I realized that I often get sidetracked by looking for the good patch, the smooth patch, that elusive time when nothing is going wrong. (And how often does that even happen? It’s rare!) I can get caught up in saving my “happiness” for those moments. I’m waiting for the end goal to happen—the victory. But I’m not seeing the middle as living.
Until this podcast.
In the midst of the mess I was working through with our business, I tried to keep living. I went on walks on the warm days. I did my devotions. I tried to live well in the middle. And I have to say, I did notice a difference in myself and my approach to what would have derailed me in the past.
I hope that you’ve had a great start to the new year, but just in case things haven’t gone as planned, I hope that these ramblings of mine give you a little dash of encouragement that you’re not alone.
Here’s to living 2022 well in the middle and the midst of surprises.