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Thursday, September 23, 2010

With Might

I'm feeling a little less than inspired today. I feel a little stuck. I'm in a middle season of life, not the mountaintop but not the valley either. I experience the euphoria of success in one area yet the devastation  of failure in another. This verse keeps rattling around in my soul:

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23

I keep wondering how I can work with all my might and still fail. Sometimes doing my best still isn't saying very much. But isn't this how we become capable of doing more? We do something that seems impossible struggling through all of it. Then the next time it's a tad easier until one day it becomes a mundane task.

Whatever the case, I found this from last year and thought it was fitting for me today. I hope it fits you too.

The middle.

It's the point in a journey, a situation, a dream, in life that tiredness begins to set in, the euphoric feeling of the newness of the beginning has worn off but the adrenaline of the end has yet to take effect. It's the middle.

About a month ago, someone told me that character is born in the middle. I think character is not only born in the middle, it's also proven there.

Lots of people, me included, can make promises, start strong and have great intentions. It's in the middle when nothing is happening, at least nothing we can see, that determination, grit and perseverance begin to show. That is if one possesses them.

This summer the Lord began giving me a picture that I dreamt of all night and saw all day in my mind's eye. In this vision, I am playing poker. I have lots of chips. The hand has yet to be dealt but I am "all in" pushing all my chips to the middle of the table.

Now I don't know much about poker but I do know a few things about my God. With him, I don't have to see the cards I'm dealt because his plans for me are good. They are for hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.)

I know that there are pleasures forevermore if I remain in his presence. (Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.)

I know that just because I belong to him, my life will be filled with goodness and mercy. (Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.)
Essentially, I know the outcome of this poker game. (Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.)

So I can play the whole thing, beginning, middle and end with all my might. Isn't that great?
Today if you're stuck in the middle, tired of waiting and growing weary of giving it your all, consider these key truths before giving up and please share any others that have helped you along the way.

Hebrews 12:3
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


Andrea said...

Oh, my sweet friend....I needed this...not only am I in the middle, but I am totally and completely exhausted!

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

Kathy@ Gone North said...

Thanks for that post. I love the quote about the middle, not only building character, but proving character.
When we had cancer, we had a fight, life was new when it was removed, but now what?? Life goes on with the mundane...every day things get in the way of our fresh new outlook in life. How quickly our "middle" gets stale & boring :)
I wonder what "Great" thing does God have for me to accomplish? :)
Thanks for the reminder today!!
(PS... I SO have enjoyed your recent posts... I don't always comment, but am always visiting & learning from you...Thanks! )

Denise said...

Thanks so much for sharing sis.

Debbie said...

This was sooo good, and again, right where I am at. I am STILL adjusting to so much. And I so want to be at the end. And yet "the middle" is always the longest part don't you think? I so appreciate your posts and you. Can't tell you how much they bless me. Have a good day. HUGS, Debbie

Kimberly said...

Oh, this is excellent, Lisa! I love the image of you pushing all your chips to the middle of the table, cards unseen! Powerful! Makes me stop and ask myself today if I am doing that. Am I truly all in, or am I holding some chips back?

Thank you for this encouragement for those times in the middle. :)

Much love,
K :)

MommaMindy said...

Beautiful encouragement for someone else who is toiling, toiling, toiling in the middle. Middle of my life, middle of child-rearing, middle of homeschooling and in the middle of every project I have ever started. Thank you!

Jeremiah 29:11 was the verse the Lord gave me for my third cancer journey. I have it on a plaque on my desk and I soak in this promise each day. It is always where I land.

Sandy Cooper said...

Great reminders here. Gotta love when scripture is so practical.

And God using poker in a dream...it doesn't get much better than that!!


Zoanna said...

Certainly speaks to me in this stage of midlife.