I remember bawling my eyes out in my friend’s kitchen and the sinking feeling I had when I said. “I feel like someone is dying...and it’s me.” I did not even have words for the despair and inner turmoil I was experiencing. I was grieving my own life, my dreams, my desires and the possibilities. It was such a low and dark point in my life and had it not been for God’s grace and for those that surrounded me during that time and helped me carry my burden….well, I don’t know what might have been. It was my rock bottom, my messy middle.
The “messy middle” describes the seasons of life that we go through that are emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially and/or physically daunting. They are the seasons where it feels like everything is coming down around you. They are hard, uncomfortable, infuriating, heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. Truthfully, I am just starting to make my way out of this season. For awhile now, it has felt like I’ve been straddled between two worlds. One foot in the wilderness, where there is still worry and uncertainty and one foot in the promised land, where I can almost taste the milk and honey...almost. Good things are happening, slowly. Both are freaking beautiful or as Author and Activist, Glennon Doyle coined, it is “Brutiful”. Brutal and beautiful at the same time. I’ve often pictured one foot in the promised land and one foot in the wilderness like this….
Until one day, a friend reflected to me what if one foot in both places doesn’t look like this but like this instead:
It took me a minute to realize what she was saying. Oh! I get it! One foot in front of another. Not straddled across like you’re doing the splits and being stretched beyond capacity but one in front of the other, as in keep moving forward. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving.
Oh, what a profound wake-up call that was to hear! If you are in the messy middle, just commit to putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t worry about tomorrow. None of us knows what lies ahead. Take heart, be brave and take one step today, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. One thing I am sure of is that the messy middle won’t last forever.
Love & Courage,