Have you ever wanted to write your ‘after’ story just as you enter a ‘beginning’? Just skip right through ‘the Middle Part’, the tough trial, the heartache, the traumatic experience, whatever hard thing life has thrown at you, and come out on the other side – where the sun is shining and the worry and stress are all in the past?
I definitely have wanted to skip ‘the Middle Part’. I have had stuff to deal with, things that I knew would only be healed by time. It takes time for hurt and sorrow to dim. And in the thick of it, I just want to bypass all the hurt of ‘the Middle Part’ and go on the end. The ‘After’. Looking back on ‘the Middle Part’, you can see where it stretched you and made you grow. How it softened your heart, or prepared you for something bigger and better.
Heartache, hurt feelings, money issues, struggles with teenagers, marriage strain, grief, depression, anxiety – I think we’d all prefer to just skip ‘the Middle Part’ of all of these if we were offered that choice.
Waking up one morning to a brighter day, to the feeling that the sadness or pain has eased is such a glorious thing. A look back at lessons learned through ‘the Middle Part’, may be what keeps moving us forward to an even better day.
But as much as I long to skip ‘the Middle Part’ – it’s the journey that brings healing, peace, and joy. Skipping the middle part doesn’t work. It won’t build character, it won’t cause growth, and it won’t bring healing.
It’s ‘the Middle Part’ that truly shapes us into the strong women of faith we long to be.
It’s ‘the Middle Part’ where God truly becomes real to us and we find we really do have to give it all to Him and fully trust Him to carry us through.
So what is it, my friend, that you want to accomplish in life? What does success look like to you? I’m looking through the lens of a business woman these days, as my business has changed and grown, and changed some more. This perspective flavors my words. However, I do think wherever you find yourself, you can apply them.
Becoming a successful business woman doesn’t consist of starting, skipping ‘the Middle Part’ and writing the after picture of success and a 6 or 7 figure biz.
We’ve all read ‘the Afters’. The look back over the starts and stops, trials and failures, small steps and big steps, lucky breaks, steps backward, challenges, tears, stress, and then the climax of a successful breakthrough. Days, months, years and decades of trying, changing, and growing can be summed up in a few hundred words. And it looks so easy when it’s all packaged up neatly between two lovely book covers. The After can read like a fairy tale – Heroine, setting, conflict, battle plan, staying the course, conquer – and VICTORY! and they lived happily ever after. THE END.
Afters read so easily. Afters also write more easily than the painful Middle Part.
Are you stuck in the Middle Part? Do you feel burdened down with all the stuff that life throws at you? Like you can’t begin to make it to an After? Do you feel you will forever be stuck in the middle, watching others write their ‘After’. I hear you. I feel your pain. I’m right there with you.
Maybe you haven’t even started because you see all that middle stuff in others storys and you think you definitely can’t handle that!
I’m here today to talk to you from that very place – ‘the Middle Part’.
I started my business journey quite by accident. I didn’t think it through very far, didn’t have a plan or ANY money – I just had a desire to create happy things, a huge amount of optimism that it would all work out, and also desire to contribute a bit to the household income. And so quite blithely and innocently I stepped into my ‘Middle Part’. In the Middle Part I still find myself – yearning for and chasing that elusive ‘After’.
But my friends, let’s pause a moment to consider – Just what, exactly, IS that ‘After’ you are seeking? What dictates that you have ARRIVED?
Is it when you have a legit business that has been registered with your state? Is it when you finally turn a bit of a profit? Or is it when your business arrives at the 6-figure business category? (I’ve always wondered if that means your income is six figures or your actual profit is six figures. Because any business owner knows there is a BIG difference between the two!)
Is it when the business makes enough of a profit to support your family without your husbands income? Is it when he quits his job to help you full time? Maybe it’s when you can finally hire a team to help out? Or when your first book hits the shelves? When you show up for a meeting/event and everyone knows who you are? And might be just a bit envious of you? (oh the popularity thing gets me every time)
What dictates when you have finally reached your ‘After’???
Does the widow find her ‘After’ a year after her loss? 2 years? When she feels happy again? When she can smile most days? Does the mother mourning the loss of her child find her ‘After’ when she welcomes another baby into her life? Do the parents struggling with teenagers find their ‘After’ when the kids finally move out on their own? Does the bankrupt man find his ‘After’ when he builds a successful business again?
At what point in any situation do we awake one day and say, “Ah, finally the ‘After’ is here! Now I can write my story! We can live happily ever after now!”
You see, my friends, I think we are all living in ‘the Middle Part’. We all have Beginnings, Middles, and Afters. So many scenarios have an after, but life is always going to throw us something else that puts us back into another ‘Middle Part’. The ‘Afters’ are glorious and thrilling and oh so addictive – but they are fleeting and can be easily missed.
It’s easy to tell ourselves that ‘after I get through this, then all will be well.’
But I think you, like me, most likely have found that there is always something else. And as often as I’d like to write my ‘After’, I’ve come to realize that I am refined in the ‘Middle Part’.
It’s in the Middle that lessons are learned.
It’s in the Middle that I am shaped into the woman God created me to be.
Some days I really don’t like ‘the Middle Part’.
We do move on. We get beyond things that have hurt us, we get through the grief, pain, and loneliness. With God we can overcome anything. And time does heal. Grief becomes bearable, sorrow fades, Joy comes in the morning.
But our true ‘After’ Story can only be penned when we have traded this earthly body for a heavenly one. And my friends, we don’t even have to write that one – someone else can do it for us!
Feeling trapped in a never ending ‘Middle Part’? Try instead, embracing the journey. It’s all this Middle Stuff that brings us to the After. Much as some days we want to skip the Middle we are traipsing through – let’s embrace it as one more step, one more day on the journey to an ‘After’. Allow all the stuff in the middle to make you a better person. And then use your experiences to reach out and help someone else as they navigate ‘the Middle Part’ too.
Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
So much of this post has stemmed from a couple things that have happened lately in my life – as I’ve struggled through the days of yet another cold January, I stumbled across Jenna Kutcher. And Lisa Leonard‘s book came out and my pre-order arrived just days ago. One of the first bloggers I ever followed, Lisa has been a huge inspiration. Both of these ladies have been a huge blessing to my life in the past week and I am forever grateful.
I love everything about this post. I think every woman (and man) can relate to this. We get so busy and overwhelmed trying to get to the after, we miss all the lessons the middle provides.
Jill Flory says
Yes! And the lessons are so wonderful if we can just view them as such!
Beautiful words! You sound much older than you are 😉
Jill Flory says
Thank you! And I’m almost 45 – perhaps older than you thought??
This is so real. So so personal. And yet you have opened your heart and shared for anyone who passes this way. A heartfelt thank you. Blessings for you and your family. Whatever “middle” you are in, we have all been there. There maybe no after yet but the dawn comes and we are blessed to wake and see it. Again. Thank you.
Jill Flory says
Thank you Mary, for your sweet comment. It can be hard and scary to share your heart but I always find that people resonate with it – we are not so different as we sometimes think!
You’re such a great writer. I’ve missed working with you. I am so impressed by your success. I think most all of life is the “middle part” and learning to enjoy it along the way, which leads to the ability of a happy ever after.
Hugs my friend! Xoxo