on learning to love the middles.

A lot has changed since the last time I showed up to write here: my job, my relationship status, my family dynamics, my mental health, and on and on.

I’ve stayed quiet for a lot of reasons (a big one being that I only want to write the story that’s mine, and much of what’s been happening in the last few months has involved other people whose stories aren’t mine to share) but I’ve missed spilling words here. And so, I’m back.

Let me catch you up:

A few months ago, I was in a relationship. One day in July, out of the blue and as a surprise to me, that ended. The hardest part wasn’t so much the absence of that person, but more the feeling that I was back to square one, that being single again meant I had to go back to the starting line and begin the race again. It took a few weeks for me to realize (thanks to the wisdom of my counselor) that being single again didn’t really mean I had to go back to the start— I could just begin again from where I am now. I’ve made progress, I’ve run a stretch of the race, I’ve learned and grown and matured, and starting a new relationship someday in the future won’t mean going back to square one, but instead wherever I am then, and going forward. I’m not yet at the finish line, but I don’t have to go back to the starting line either. I’m in the middle.

Last month, I joined the gym. Again. I’ve done this before, several times, always with good intentions and very little commitment to actually showing up and making it count. I loved being a member at a yoga studio, but it was right near my old office and is now inconvenient. That reason alone meant I would never actually go… so I joined a Y near where I work now. I showed up, I met with a personal trainer, I did a strength test, and I got set up with a fitness plan and a workout schedule. It was intimidating for SURE but exciting too. I’m getting back into a rhythm of exercising, and even though it can feel wimpy to start with low weights, I’m doing it. My body isn’t where I want it to be, but it’s getting stronger every time, and I’m feeling good about it. Here, too, I’m in the middle.

Every day, I fight a battle against anxiety and depression. I take a tiny pill that helps, I pray a lot, I go to counseling weekly, I check in with friends often, and I fight with everything I know how to fight with. The darkness and the storms always seem to be right around the corner, just waiting for me to trip up… but I’m determined not to let that happen. I hope to one day be off the medication, to scale back counseling, to find true freedom and deep peace, but I’m not there yet. Again, here, I’m in the middle.

And here’s the thing I’m learning about the middles like these: I hate them.

I like things perfect. (hello, enneagram One!) I like things controlled, and clear, and clean, and finished. I like things black or white, and I’m not a fan of all the shades of gray in between. I like starting new things, and I like when things wrap up, but I’m not really all that stoked about the journey in between.

Middles are hard for me.

Unknowns are hard for me.

Waiting and progress and baby steps and patience and grace are really freaking hard for me.

And yet, since I took my first breath and until I take my last one, I’m living in the middle.

There’s a lot to be learned here. There’s a lot to see, to experience, to grow through and to go through, to be hurt by and to heal from.

I keep coming back to the simple yet essential truth that God is God and I am not, and that He is good at being God, and I am not.

The only (yet the hardest) thing for me to do is let Him be God of my life. I need to let Him be Lord of the middles. I need to loosen my white knuckle grip on all the things and let Him lead the way. He’s with me in these middles, in these valleys, in this journey, and He will carry me and champion me through every step of the way. I just need to give up my grip and take His hand.

So, I’m learning to love the middles.

I’m learning to celebrate the tiny victories. I’m learning to love the daily dependence on God and the surrendering of self. (BUT YES, HELLO, IT IS VERY HARD.) I’m learning to set smaller goals and pray bigger prayers. I’m learning to name what I want, and to not settle for less. I’m learning to ask for help instead of trying to convince everyone around me that I have everything under control. I’m learning to say no when I need to, and I’m learning to show up humbly and wholeheartedly to the people and projects I’ve said yes to.

I’m learning that in these seasons of unresolved circumstances, in these days of hoping and healing and holding on to hope, God is still God, and He is still good.

If You’re not done working, then God, I’m not done waiting. (Thank you for these words, Hillsong.)

All I know to do in the middle is carry on in faith, day by day, step by step, clinging to Christ, fighting for truth, praying for peace, all the while grounded in the goodness of the God who is in every bit of the middle with me, leading me to more than I could ever dare to dream.

Today, and tomorrow, and every day that follows, I’ll learn to love the middles a little more.