Not knowing is awful. Transition is draining. Walking without vision is dangerous. Being unsure of your next step is depleting. This is what I feel in this season I will call the in-between. I feel like I should give this season a name or write a children’s book about it. Esther and the ordinary, predictable, simply mediocre, very unsexy day. That sounds like a best seller just waiting to happen!
In all seriousness, mountaintop experiences are amazing! They are glorious, fulfilling, they cast vision and give you insane energy for the days ahead. These are the mission trips where you literally see God move, the youth ministry events where everyone cries and hugs like there’s no tomorrow, it’s the finished book, the breakthroughs, the new babies and the graduations.
And then there are the valleys. Some call this rock bottom. And most would say this is the worst of all seasons. But here’s the weird and twisted thing I sort of don’t mind about the valleys … and that’s I know what to do with them. I pursue God with everything, pray with all my energy, seek out wisdom from others and move forward one day at a time in faith that this is just a season and it too will pass.
God promises that we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death – this is not a surprise. He says he will be with us and not to fear the evil. There is dancing on the mountaintop – this is great! And there is weeping and praying and seeking in the valleys – this too is great (even if it doesn’t feel that way). But where I get stuck are the spaces between the mountaintops and the valleys.
We focus on the mountaintops and the valleys, but most of life (for most people) is lived in the space in-between. If mountaintops are defined by their uplifting, mind-boggling, heart-filling glory, and if valleys are characterized by pain, heartache and uncertainty, then how would we describe the seemingly endless plateau between the two?
I’ll tell you what I think. I would say it’s about trudging. You may want to check out this (slightly inappropriate) clip from one of my favorite movies when I was in high school. Here’s what Geoffrey Chaucer says in A Knight’s Tale, “To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.”
Trudging has a negative connotation (and apparently includes butts), so I’ll give you another word. It’s my word for the year, but I’ll share it with you. The word is abide. I wrote about it here.
How do we abide not when the going gets rough, but when the going gets ordinary? If we live with intention, grace and courage, step by step by step, then I believe we can be wildly free, wonderfully brave and breathtakingly kind even in the in-betweens. We must keep our eyes to the sky – nothing depletes faster than a case of inward eyeballs. If our attention is on God, we’ll be changed and filled no matter what. So let’s paint a little bit of whimsy on the canvas that is the in-between and fill it with color.
Will you join me?