In-between. What do you think of when you hear that word?
For me, this word is heavy with claustrophobia, tight spaces, and the cream between sandwich cookies—squished. It’s the painful squeeze of being in a place you don’t want to be in. That middle airplane seat, center couch cushion, or being smack-dab in the middle of a line of people taller than you.
Seriously, life doesn’t happen in these stuffy places of waiting. Or does it? Jeff Goins, in his book titled The In-Between, argues, that yes indeed, life does happen in the spaces of in between. That the majority of our lives are not defined by the big moments—the book ends of life—but rather, the deepest, most meaningful aspects of our lives are hidden in the spaces in the middle. The ordinary, mundane, uneventful.
For much of my life, I have longed for the next big thing. Those things that are all it. Sadly, the things I thought would be the next big thing, simply left me hungry for the next defining moment. I would even be willing to say that God has rarely spoken magnificent things to me, while I am wrapped up in the great event of the time. It was in the in between moments on a beach in El Golfo that the silence of God spoke louder than if He’d shouted over the noise of the waves.
Looking back, the greatest moments of my life have not happened when I was doing that amazingly awesome thing. I learned about forgiveness and bitterness on a long, hot, tiring boat ride down the Irrawaddy River. Another great moment happened in the Atlanta airport at midnight. Some of the best conversations of my life have taken place in the kitchen at work. In the silence, in the waiting, in the longing, Jesus speaks.
Sadly, most of my adult years have been spent waiting to arrive, longing to be somewhere else, and pacing for something worth my life. But, if I would just take the time to review my life, I would see that many of my favorite memories, treasured relationships, and heart-breaking photographs occurred in the long seasons of in between. Where would I be—who would I be—without these gap moments, months, years?
It is in the places of waiting to arrive, waiting for the clock to finally reach that certain time, or waiting to do something important, that God has spoken.
All of life is a giant in-between. Cradled in between the day we each took our first shaky, crying breath and the day we take our last breath and fall into the arms of eternity, is an in between.
What if the in between wasn’t viewed as stuffy, squishy nastiness? What if we could see it as a chance to slow-down, breathe, and wait on God? What if we could see a hammock between the two giant trees? And not just an empty chasm.
What if this summer could be lived to the fullest—overflowing in beauty, sweetness, and Jesus? What if we took the time to really, truly live? Smell the lilacs, drink sweet tea, take photos of baby birds, watch the water striders dancing on the lake, breathe in the smells of bonfires, and relish the sound of laughter on porches? What if we lived on purpose in the in between…without sacrificing the beauty all around us?
Trusting that Jesus has our very lives—and seasons of in between—in His hands, we can fearlessly and joyfully live in the moments He’s given us, filling the very spaces with beauty, hope, and life itself.