The In Between

IMG_5743Springtime in the Rockies is, well, winter shaking out its coat of snow and ice. I snapped this photo recently of my backyard apple tree stuck in the seasonal in between. Brrrrr and beauty all rolled into one. You know what? You and I find ourselves in these seasonal in betweens too.
Our children are graduating to the next level of school or birthing a career and we are in a bit of a holding pattern. We applaud their life milestones while placing a bit of a check on our emotions. We want them to launch . . . we want them to stay. The in between.

The present job is just draining us or the company is taking another direction and we are left behind. We want a better work fit . . . we want the familiarity of our coworkers and paycheck. The in between.

The medication and treatment are winding down, but we still are not back to our normal energy and activities. We want to be well   . . . we want our “other” body back. The in between.

Like snow-covered apple blossoms, we are to hold steady through the in between seasons. On-ice circumstances do eventually thaw. Resolve and patience will usher in the new, the good. What about the awkwardness of wanting to be done and through and beyond our in between? I’m finding these words from Psalm 37:7 of help: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him . . . .”

Stillness. Waiting. Shhhh . . . can you hear the plop-plunk, plop-plunk of your in between melting into the new and the good?

What’s your in between right now? What helps you be still and wait?

Brave and Resilient Tip #137: In between times do usher in the new and the good.

Winter of Content

“Now is the winter of our discontent” is the famous opening to Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, but it’s interesting how these 16th century words could describe some of us today. Say it isn’t so! It is so.

For me, being discontent can hover on the surface of life: eye rolling when something messes up, grumbling over monthly bills. Yet discontentment is more than dissatisfaction, it can mean “a restless desire or craving for something one does not have.” The deeper, more internal “winter of discontent” can ice over my moving through today and my outlook on tomorrow. Sometimes I yearn for the ultimate in a hassle-free life, even though I know it’s not possible this side of heaven. Knowing this in m IMG_2734 - Version 3y head does not stop the uneasiness in my heart.

It doesn’t help that our culture shoves us toward discontentment. Not having enough. Not being enough. Not doing enough. Next time, do this. Next time, buy this. Next time, say this. I’ve heard it said, “You’re never good enough when you’re trying to be perfect. The daily striving for perfection robs us of relaxed contentment.

Paul in New Testament times endured beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, and more, and he could still honestly pen “. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11). Learning contentment is a moment-by-moment process, not a one-time intake. Oh, to tweak the Bard of Avon’s words and enjoy the “winter of our contentment.”

Perhaps the secret to contentment is learning to chill out over those frustrating and painful situations we’d prefer to skip altogether.

And learning to be satisfied with where we are right now and holding loosely the desire for change or improvement. What if our present circumstances are right where God wants us  . . . for now, without changing or improving a thing?

Brave and Resilient Tip #59: Learning to be content is a
daily education.