I’m an idealist, but if you had told me that a few years ago, I probably would’ve shrugged, unsure of the idea. That wasn’t something I knew about myself. But it’s something I’ve learned — a realization born of necessity, an insight steeped in pain. It’s not this particular piece of me that matters all that much. It’s the way it’s shaped my thoughts that matters, the way it’s informed my dreams and fueled my fears.
I think it’s part of the reason I struggle to live in the in-between. I’m always grasping for what’s next, regarding the not-yet as the objective. And all too often, the grasping becomes gripping and the regarding becomes revering.
Dreaming for the future is normal and healthy, but I have a way of turning those dreams into unrealized concrete realities. There, in the depths of my mind, are checkpoints and destinations, but no speed bumps, no stop signs. And you know what happens when you’re flying down the road, looking far ahead, paying little attention to the pavement directly in front of you? The unexpected speed bump jolts you out of your skin. The sudden stop sign leaves you screeching to a neck-breaking halt.
Here is not a place I thought I’d stop. Here is not a place I thought I’d be. It’s a foreign place that feels lonely. It doesn’t seem to look like anyone else’s here. I feel pain that eats away at my being, resentment that eats away at my soul. My body is broken here, and much of the time, so too is my spirit.
But right now, God has asked me to live here — not wait here, not fight here, not pine here — live here.
Two temptations fight to threaten this. They contradict each other, and I waver in the middle, struggling to walk the ground that barely exists between them.
One tells me to stop, to stand in place, to pause. “Living can wait,” it says, but I know it’s a lie, because none of us can ever really afford to wait to live.
The other tells me to run, blindly, furiously, carelessly. And most of the time, I want to run, but I can’t. I can’t outrun the ache, and I am all at once angry and glad for that.
The ground in the middle is muddy. The steps are one by one. It’s a deliberate way of walking, of living. I want to flit ahead to dry land, but what I’m realizing is that there’s someone guiding my steps here, someone walking alongside me in the mud, gifting me with strength, moment by moment. So, as much as I want out of here as quickly as possible, I am learning, day after day, to love the hand that guides me and grasp the strength it provides me.
Our heres are all different, but they all bear a common thread. No matter yours, I encourage you to walk in it. Live in it. Be there in all your confusion and brokenness. Peel your eyes away from there, and meet the one who walks with you here.