I have a confession to make: I’m struggling.
I’m not struggling in the sense that I’m sad or depressed or angry or anxious. I’m struggling in the sense that I am in the “in-between.”
And the in-between is not always the most comfortable place.
For me, the in-between is the space and time that you live in when you are moving towards something, but you aren’t moving at a fast enough pace to get you there when you want to get there.
The in-between is the waiting period between starting something new and getting to the other side of that something new.
The in-between is getting news and seeing how that news plays out.
The in-between is the time between the novice and the expert.
The in-between is when you move from having a cloudy vision of what the end goal is and it coming to fruition.
The in-between is the space between the what was and the not yet.
I am in-between.
Clarity is kindness, and I have a dear friend who is always wanting specific examples, so let me be clear with how I am in the in-between right now. What started as a dream to write, has spurred on a desire within me to speak. And that desire to speak has caused big goals to come into mind. Dreams and big goals of a podcast and speaking events. And those big goals are just that – big and goals. They are not yet. They are what I am working towards. They are what I don’t actually know will happen. And they are far enough ahead that it seems like it might take forever to get there…if it ever does.
I am in the in-between. I started, I am working towards the dream and goal, but I am not there yet.
And that is hard.
Here’s the thing about the in-between space that I want to be clear on – just because it’s in-between, does not mean it is not valuable.
The in-between can be uncomfortable. And I have the tendency to want to rush out of it as fast as I can because of that discomfort. Why is it so hard to be uncomfortable? What I’ve learned about the uncomfortable times and spaces in my life is that the uncomfortable is often uncomfortable because that is the place where the most inner work has to be done.
PT Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman (one of my favorite movies) said, “Comfort, the enemy of progress.”
So to apply his genius in the other way means that discomfort is the friend of progress. Discomfort is a means to progress. Discomfort is a means to move forward.
The in-between is a means to growth.
Psalm 1 tells us that the person who does not follow evil but instead loves and meditates on the Lord’s instruction is like a tree planted by a stream of water and it bears its fruit in season.
Did you catch that? It bears fruit in season. At just the right time. When God says that it is the right time…not me.
So maybe, just maybe, this tension I feel between the what was and the not yet is a good place to be. What do you think?
Are you in the in-between in some area of your life right now? It really can pop up in any area – marriage, parenthood, friendships, ministry, workplace, your inner spiritual life, anywhere. How do you handle it? Do you try to rush through it and avoid the discomfort? Or do you stay in it for a while and let the discomfort breed growth?
For me, and I am sure for you, when I am on the other side of those uncomfortable spaces, when I’ve dug deep into my soul to figure out why I’m feeling the way I do, it is always rewarding and profound. But the space in-between, where the work and the growth is being hashed out, is hard.
I’d love to wrap this “in-between” talk up with a pretty bow for you, but I can’t because I’m still in it! But I will give you this simple encouragement –
If we remain faithful to God and what He has called us to do, even if our dreams don’t come to fruition for 20 years, we will bear fruit at just the right time.
We can count on it, because we can count on Him.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season…” Psalm 1:3
God, may we press into you while we are in the in-between and may we joyfully anticipate the fruit that we will bear in your perfect timing.