Somewhere in the Middle

Do you ever feel like a failure?

I do.

On Sunday night, my pastor had a sweet little girl come up on the platform to “assist” him with his preaching.

As she stood next to him in her fluffy dress, reading from her pink Bible, suddenly I didn’t see her. I saw myself.

Not who I am now, of course. But “me,” 13 or 14 years ago.

Back then, it was me standing at the front of the church, looking darling and spouting scripture. Back then, everyone was talking about what incredible things I would do someday or the wonderful person I would become.

And tonight, I felt like a disappointment.

Now before everyone jumps in, insisting that I’m not, bear with me for a second. I know I’m not a disappointment, but if I’m honest, sometimes I do feel like I am. In fact, I believe most of us do at one time or another.

It’s easy to remember our dreams from yesterday and feel disheartened that we aren’t where we thought we were “supposed to be.” It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we see others doing what we think we “should be doing.”

“I was supposed to have graduated by now.”

“I should be getting married by now.”

“I was supposed to have that promotion by now.”

“I should be moving forward in my ministry by now.”

See? You can’t tell me you’ve never thought things like this. I’ll be the first to admit that I have, and it can really eat me up at times.

But then the analogical wheels in my brain start turning, and I imagine a person who’s hired someone to build them a house. I imagine them finalizing the designs and getting all excited about them. Maybe hanging them on a wall and doing a little happy dance about what it will all look like.

But what if, in their excitement, that person rushes over to the site only weeks later to check up on things. When they arrive, they are horrified to find only a skeletal version of their dream home. They run up to the builder, thoroughly outraged. Where are the walls? Where is the ceiling? Where is the trim? Where is the beautiful paint color they picked out? They consider firing the builder. After all, this was not what they requested in the slightest.

Sounds silly, right? How could the person expect a finished product so quickly? Don’t they know that houses take quite a while to get looking “dreamy”?

But don’t we sometimes treat God just like that person treated the builder? Don’t we stomp and cry and demand to know why things aren’t perfect yet? Don’t we often have presumptuous expectations of how and when things should happen? Don’t we doubt the process – and ultimately the builder – in our haste to “have it all together?”

Here’s the thing: we’re not houses.

Our lives are not something so simple as brick and mortar.

They are stories – intricately woven and handcrafted by God.

The same God that created all the planets, stars, animals, plants, and all the ways to keep it all going is the same God that makes the blood circulate through our bodies, keeping all the various systems running smoothly. He is not the type to create something and simply drop it.

He’s just not finished yet.

Ask any author. The best stories – the ones that keep us on the edge of our seats ’til the very end – take time. Yes, you can rush it. You can hurry things along and manipulate all the details, but you won’t ever have what you truly desire.

My friend, God knows our hearts. You might be sitting there thinking it’s too late, or you’ll never make it, or you won’t ever have what everyone else has, but let me assure you: God’s just not finished yet.

I could reflect on a time like Sunday and feel like the biggest disappointment because I don’t have all my ducks in a row yet. I could pick myself apart over the choices I have made. I could tell myself I’m worthless because someone else is where I always thought I would be by now.

Instead, I will heed my own advice (because I’m always preaching to the choir over here) and trust the builder’s process.

There’s so much more to come.

He’s just not finished yet.

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