The In-Between

Sometimes I feel like I’m living a lifetime of waiting. Waiting drives me crazy –  even more so when the wait is unpleasant.

Recently, I had my perspective shifted by a book, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing By Jeff Goins. While I still have not completely embraced the wait (I think that will take some time), this book did give me a new way to look at waiting, even when unpleasant.

One of the most powerful things I took from this book is the idea that right now is all there is. Yes, there is a future, but I can’t live it right now. Now is all I have.

I also had to confront the possibility that the future I hope for may never be. My hopes may never be realized. What if things never change for me? Then what?

This thought forced me into a decision. If now is all I have, I want to make it the best it can be. If life never changes for me (and I believe that it will), I want to do the best I can with what I have. For me, this means going after my goals as if my very life depended on it. It means writing like the angels themselves were inspiring me. It means living fully right now because this is all I have.

In the first chapter, Jeff talks about a lesson he learned while living abroad. He spent his days rushing from one place to another without really taking things in. During his stay, though, he learned to slow down and be fully present in each moment. He urges the reader to be present right now. He urges us to take time to enjoy our surroundings and spend time with those around us.

Jeff Goins had some unique opportunities and some unique experiences, which made for a very interesting book. He talks about slowing down and enjoying life right where we are. This was the focus of this book. Jeff succeeded in helping me to embrace life as it is.

However, this book impacted me in another way. As Jeff told his story and how his life unfolded, this book gave me a dose of hope. Looking at Jeff’s story, I could see God guiding his life. I could see how God led him along and how Jeff is using all that he has learned through his experiences.

Seeing that in his life gave me hope for my own life. I have no idea what is happening. I can’t see what God is doing. In fact, I accuse him regularly of doing absolutely nothing. But if God guided Jeff, it made me consider the possibility that perhaps he is leading me, too. Maybe I am slowly learning things that I will later use in the life God has planned for me. Maybe this is all a part of the plan.

I was really encouraged by Jeff’s insights and his story. It helped me see things differently and it helped me to see God differently.

I urge you to pick up The In-Between. It’s an entertaining and thoughtful read.If you’re stuck in the waiting phase, this book will help.

Influence and Inspiration

It’s half-past midnight. My mind is buzzing with excitement and inspiration. Maybe I’m too excited: I can’t sleep.

I am feeling so inspired because I spent time with my friend, Lisa, who has always been a positive influence. Actually, my day has been good overall. It started with some reading and journaling while sipping on a salted caramel mocha (fabulous). After a great writing session, lunch at my favorite restaurant, and some inspiring reading, I spent the evening with Lisa.

We took a walk and talked about her upcoming move to Texas. We started talking about the things that Lisa has learned and I feel like her enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. I’m not moving to Texas (unfortunately) but I am really excited about what’s happening in my own life.

After floundering for a very long time, I now feel like I have some direction in my life. I feel like I have some guidance about how to live the life I want. I feel that God has given me a sense of how to get there. I just need to act on what he has shown me. I feel like the next phase of my life is beginning.

Sometimes when transitioning from one phase to another changes have to be made. In this case, I need to shed three things:

I need to part with some of my belongings. I have some clothes that need to go to Goodwill, shoes that need to go in the garbage, and jewelry that needs to be given away. My life is simpler than it was but it needs to be simpler still. A full purge is in my future.

I need to let go of old ways of thinking. Or perhaps I should say that I need to change old ways of not thinking. I still seem to have some mindless activity in my life — mindless eating, spending, and TV watching. I must trade these mindless activities for meaningful activity. My goals must be in the forefront of my mind.

I need to eliminate things that waste time.  There can’t be hours playing online games and hours in front of the TV. Minimalism is about choices. I must choose to do things that matter.  For example, it is more important that I write than it is for me to catch all my friends’ Facebook statuses.

While I am making some changes to my life during this transitional period, I hesitate to say that I am taking control of my life. I prefer for God to take control of my life. I believe fully in his Lordship and control of my life. But what I am doing is making a space for him to work. I am acting on things he has already instructed me to do and watching to see how he works.

One short evening with a friend getting ready to enter her next phase of life has inspired me to get ready for the next phase of mine. It’s amazing how we are influenced by those around us. Who inspires you? How do you prepare for change?

9.11

I remember exactly where I was. I was in school in Carbondale, Illinois. I walked into into the room where my study group met only to find it empty. There seemed to be a crowd gathering in the student lounge, though. Just as I was walking in, a classmate was walking out. Tears filled his eyes. I asked what was wrong. He responded that the Pentagon had been bombed. His father worked at the Pentagon, and as of that moment, he did not know if his father was okay.

I went into the student lounge and watched in horror along with my classmates. While my friend didn’t have the details exactly right, he gave me the gist. Terrorists had attacked our country and people were dying. Our country would never be the same.

Every year, there are blog posts and facebook posts, and business signs that remember and honor those who died and those who served. I want to add my voice to theirs. I want to remember those who lost their lives and those who saved others. I am praying for those who lost loved ones on that day twelve years ago. I know that the pain never goes away. We surround the surviving families with love and empathy.

This country is not perfect. We are fractured and divided, and at times, misguided. But I love the fact that we can put aside our differences to mourn and give honor where it is due.

So as we pause twelve years later to mourn the loss of nearly 3,000 lives, we do so with compassion. We pray. We honor. We remember.