Maybe it’s because I’m a first-born or just really Type A, but I’m a goal-setter, an achiever. I don’t mean that in a “look at me” kind of way. It just is. It’s who I am. So, for me, a new challenge, a new goal is exciting. It becomes a driving force to keep me going. It’s what I might consider the big moments in life that I get really excited about. I think back to being fifteen and counting the days until I turned sixteen. I could get a driver’s license and a job. It would mark a moment when I was one step closer to adulthood. If you knew me as a fifteen year old, you would know this wait was serious business. Even on the chalkboard in my 10th grade english class, the teacher allowed me to write a countdown to April 13, the day I would gain new freedom. It seemed it would never come. But, it did and the wait shifted to the end of high school and a new season and journey into college.
During those days in high school, I set ridiculous goals for myself and cluttered my life with academic endeavors, organizations and extra-curricular activities. I had a goal, my mind set on my own accomplishments. And then the day came, high school had ended. I had realized all the dreams I had set out for myself. Yet, I found myself deflated. What was happening? I had worked so hard. Why? What was the purpose? Yes, I had my name in our small town newspaper. Because of my GPA was high enough, I spoke at my high school graduation and I had a list a mile long of accolades to put on a college application. What did it matter, really? I had missed out on high school. Well, not literally. I was there and people knew my name, but I somehow missed the experience. I didn’t get to know people, I mean really know them. I walked away from high school, having missed the most important parts–the people. Sure, I had friends, kind of. But, I never really invested in anyone. I didn’t stop to know their stories and their lives. I didn’t know if they got along well with their parents, had enough food for the weekend or had grand dreams. I missed the actual “big thing” because I was looking ahead to the next big thing.
Recently, I picked up a book by Jeff Goins entitled The In-Between–Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. Truthfully, it probably wouldn’t have been a book I would have picked up had I not started reading articles and blogs by Jeff Goins. I am drawn to his style of writing. There is something about him that makes me curious. So, I picked up The In-Between. And by “pick up”, I mean I listened to it on audio before actually purchasing a hard copy. (That was a fun experience because Jeff actually reads the book, himself. I won’t be able to read anything else by Jeff Goins without hearing his voice in my head.) As I listened to his stories, the lessons he had learned, I knew God was speaking to me.
Following high school, I learned from my mistakes and I began to know people. I began listening to their stories and becoming a student of their hearts and lives. I haven’t perfected the craft of soaking in all the “in-between.” I still have a to-do list and a drive for productivity. However, I’ve come to realize right now is the next big thing. I don’t want to miss playing with Barbies or building legos, a woman’s story over coffee or the dreams of my husband. I want to sit and listen and soak in all of right now. I want to be mindful of all God is and is doing because I’m not too busy to notice.
I love the way Jeff uses the word “tension” in the subtitle of his book to describe the times when I’m sitting in the carpool line or volunteering in my child’s school cafeteria. The moments when I’m sitting through staff meeting or folding a load of laundry is often marked with tension. I’m ready to get though it and move on. I’ve discovered that attitude is risky, for there is much to be missed if I don’t stop and examine the moment.
Question: What “in-betweens” make you crazy? What have you learned through some of the “in-betweens” of your life? What are you waiting on and what could RIGHT NOW be teaching you?
I’m excited to be giving away a copy of Jeff Goins book, The In-Between. Comment on this post and be entered in the drawing.