Monday, February 20, 2017

When you feel unsure, you're in "the middle"


I love reading people's success stories. I love hearing how they struggle, and then everything turns out right in the end. I love hearing how they went through something hard and they wanted to give up, and then God turned their heartaches into joys. I love those stories. I love the resolutions, the finish line, where it's apparent there was a grand architect, constructing the whole thing.

But what do those stories look like when you're inside of it, when you're in the middle?

In most instances, there's no certainty of how things are going to turn out. I would imagine how you feel in the middle of something would be quite different from your eventual feelings when it is all over. As people, we generally celebrate finish lines, and we all know what it feels like: the elation, the being on top, the "done" feeling. But we don't always recognize or acknowledge what "the middle" feels like.

What "the middle" feels like

When we acknowledge what the middle feels like it helps everybody find strength in their own middles, whatever they may be.

The middle, in my mind, is classified by two feelings: insecurity and inconsistency. One day you're on top of the world, what you're doing is great, YOU are great. The next day you are second-guessing yourself, feeling like you don't know what you are doing or your work stinks. On top of those feelings, you are still not totally sure if your work is even in the right direction!

On those low days, I want my insecurities to be an indication that I should STOP. I DON'T know what I'm doing, I'm NOT improving life in any way, and my time would be a lot easier spent doing more normal "less hard" things.

I feel like I'm in the middle with this blog. Ever since I realized Heavenly Father wanted me to write more often on this blog I've been on this high-low, elation vs. deprecation path. As a sensitive person, it can be painful for me to put myself out there. And most of the people I know don't choose to "expose" their innermost thoughts and feelings this way-- it just seems easier to keep this space a little more quiet. I really don't know what Heavenly Father intends for this blog, but I can recognize now that I'm in the middle of it.

What is keeping you from continuing?

Just because you doubt yourself or you create a crappy product doesn't mean you should stop doing something and turn your attention elsewhere. Ask yourself two important questions.

  1. First and foremost, is this what God wants you to do? 
  2. Secondly, are you avoiding something simply because you are afraid you might fail?

All great things have middles

Chances are if the answer is "yes" to both questions-- you are in the middle of something great. "Middle feelings" are not an indication that what you are doing is wrong, or that your efforts are fruitless. Middle feelings are something all people must pass through who are doing a great work. It really is not exclusive to just you-- it's uncomfortable to jump outside of your comfort zone or put yourself out there.

Everyone's middle is messy, and we don't like to be in them. There's nothing tied up in a pretty bow, no finish line in sight. It's awkward and confusing. A lot of times we make mistakes, we do things poorly, and we often decide not to exercise our faith when we're in the middle. It's growth-- but it can appear to be the exact opposite. And the truth is, even though you might have an idea of what your "finish line" is supposed to look like-- God may have a completely different idea. But no matter what you have to have a "middle experience" to get there.

Choose faith in your middles

My realization about "middles" helped me see I'm in a lot of middles in my life-- what to do with my graduate degree, my health habits, creating our family, my spiritual progression, finding our "forever" home to live in. I find myself feeling insecure or inconsistent at any moment on any number of these things. I don't have it figured out, it's not finished, and I have no crystal ball to see all the specifics of how it's going to play out.

While yes, insecurity and inconsistency characterize middles, we can and should always be working towards choosing faith over the more natural choices of fear, believing lies about our own abilities and self worth, and simply giving up.

While we do not have a crystal ball to see how it will play out, there really is a divine architect who has a specific plan for you. His advice is more personal, more profound than any self-help book, and it's the most effective at getting you to where you, specifically, need to go. Your Heavenly Father can guide you in your confusing middle, if you invite Him in. And when you put your faith in Him he gives you the best gift in return: Hope. And hope allows you to continue on even when everything else is telling you you are going to fail.



What "middles" are you in in your life? Is it a project you are working on, or a bigger part of your life? Is there faith you could exercise in order to keep going?


4 comments:

  1. I'm in a lot of those same middles!😂 Homeschooling, creating our family, nutrition, spiritual progress... I'm working on slowing down and not feeling that I have to rush to the finish line and have it all figured out. I actually have a blog post draft that I'm in the "middle" of that contains some of these thoughts.😊

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    1. Ok YAY I'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't have it all figured out! ;) It was like a revelation to me when I realized that just because I was bad at something or it made me uncomfortable, it didn't mean I had to stop, but simply that I was in process. It's released a lot of tension for me!

      I love to hear your thoughts if you ever get around to finishing the post. I love learning from other people's experiences!

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  2. Love this. I'm so grateful you share your personal revelations with us. I learn so much.
    Ps I also loved your "we are a best friends family" post!

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  3. Thanks Carly your encouragement always gives me the courage to keep going! You make a difference in my life!

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