I don’t know about you, but I love starting a new project. A concept begins to take shape in your mind and you prepare and plan it, maybe even flesh it out on paper. If it’s a physical project, you shop for items to make, bake, remodel, craft, etc. to begin said project. Maybe it’s a new commitment to work out every day or read a daily devotion or anything. No matter the project, preparation can evoke a feeling of excitement and thrill! You visualize the end result so you begin with determination and enthusiasm. When I start something new, I have this crazy thought like “Oh this will be fun!” Anyone relate? I also love completing a project or reaching a goal. To see the idea come to fruition is a beautiful, rewarding and greatly satisfying moment. But, between the excitement of starting and the satisfaction of completion, is the middle! When the pleasure and anticipation we felt at the start of this fun, new project wears off, the venture loses its thrill, the end and reward are nowhere in sight, we are stuck in the drudgery of the middle.
Isn’t life sort of like that? We spend the majority of our time in “the middle” of something. Take marriage for example. Most of married life is spent in the middle. My daughter was just married a few weeks ago so the impression is very fresh in my mind. There is a lot of planning that goes into the wedding ceremony and reception and the start of a blessed and exciting new adventure. You speak the vows, do the toasts, dance the dances and go off to the honeymoon. (By the way, this is one instance or “project” we never want to see the end of, so we pray the middle lasts for a very long time for all marriages.) But then after the honeymoon, the middle begins and it can get rough sometimes. So it is the way with life.
The middle can be a daunting and challenging place. It calls for perseverance and determination. Fortitude and endurance. The middle will have highs and lows, good and bad, wonderful and devastating moments. The middle is a place where one can get lost, worn down, discouraged, disappointed, distracted, anxious, well, you get the idea. The middle, as unnerving as it can be, is unavoidable. There, now doesn’t that put a smile on your face and some pep in your step?
If the middle is unavoidable and we need perseverance, determination, fortitude and endurance to go through it, some help and guidance to do this is essential. I love what scripture says in Isaiah, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV
The middle can get overwhelming and I can’t even imagine getting through it without help and hope in something else that is far greater than me and my own strength. When the darkness of discontentment and discouragement wants to steal away from me precious moments, I am encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s words, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NIV
So don’t despise the middle, or be discouraged there. There is help, hope and purpose and moments to treasure can be found if you take heart and seek them. And remember that all of life is a precious treasure and gift of time, most of which is spent right smack dab in the middle!