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Reflections #8: Messy Middles

Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.

“I have set my face like a stone determined to do His will.” Isaiah 50:7

Show Notes

When I am starting something new, there’s the excitement and freshness of this new thing. Perhaps I’ve been thinking of it, dreaming of it, praying for it for a long time. I bring energy, zest, and enthusiasm to the table. I’ve researched and planned and am ready to go.

And then when I’m nearing the finish line of said dream or project, I receive a fresh burst of energy because the end is in sight. I’ve almost reached my goal.

But it’s in the messy middle that dreams fade, marriages fail, jobs lose their luster, and parenting seems not quite so fun.

“It’s in the messy middle that we must “set our faces like a stone and determine to do His will.” 

If you’re in the middle of a messy middle, take heart. Mary and Joseph had to deal with them in their lives too. Join me on this short podcast today to reflect upon messy middles and how we can persevere through them.  And remember,

To listen, simply click on the podcast player below or subscribe to us on iTunes.


May your soul’s meditations be fuel for Spirit-led actions today.

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4 Steps to Starting Something New

It was one of those days. I hit the start button on my blender and watched as the contents of my smoothie 349px-Glace_ala_fraise_02 propelled out of the too-loose lid, up to the ceiling, back down on me, and all over the counter.

As I began cleaning up the colossal mess, I realized that my spirit was feeling about as stirred up as my shake currently was. Lately, God was whirring up something new in me, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it.

Something New in You?

Do you ever feel that way? God lays something new on your heart and you think about it, and think about it some more. If you try to ignore it, you may feel as if you’re about to explode with pent-up emotions.

This very thing happened to two men in the Bible, Zerubbabel and Joshua. Haggai 1:14 tells us that the Lord stirred up their spirits because he had a job for them to do — to head up the committee to put God’s temple back in order. It was a big job, but God was with them. They got moving and got it done.

As I was reading this tiny book in the Bible, it made me realize that when God stirs up our spirits, it’s for a reason, and how we handle those feelings is important. I’ve identified a few steps to help you get moving.

Step #1: Pray and Ask

While this may seem like an obvious step, it’s surprising how often we overlook it. First we need to discern that these stirrings are part of God’s plan. Too often I have charged ahead with my own plans or buried my head in the sand because I wasn’t thrilled about being the point person.

Taking the time to be certain of God’s leading on something new is important because

I love this quote from Mark Batterson’s book Draw the Circle regarding praying. “Our responsibility is to simply discern what God wants, and then humbly yet boldly to ask Him for it.” So don’t be shy. Be specific in your prayers.

Once you feel confident in His leading (and this may take a while), move on to step  #2.

Step #2: Take a Step of Faith

stepThis step will look different for each one of us, depending on what we’re being called to. It will most likely involve the following:

  • Research. Whether you’re starting a business or leading a Bible study, you don’t want to blindly blunder in. Make sure you take the time to explore options, determine costs (both time and money), find needed resources, and line up any help you may need.
  • Prepare. Perhaps you need to learn a skill, get a certification, take a refresher course or otherwise prepare for what is next. Seek wise counsel from someone you trust.
  • Establish a timeline. When do you want to start? Have a goal in mind otherwise preparing will stretch on indefinitly.

Step #3 Experiment

Do you need to create a product or offer a service? Spend the time you need to create, test, and refine. Where you can, learn from what others have done/are doing so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on everything. Continue to pray through.

Step #4 Launch Your Something New

There comes a time when you have to hit the Go button! Will you ever feel fully ready? No. Will you struggle with thinking that someone else could be doing this better? Probably. Will you make some mistakes? Most definitely. But what God told the people in the book of Haggai as they responded to the stirring in their hearts is true for us too:

Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts.  According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ Haggai 2:4-5

I’d love to hear what God is stirring up in your heart lately. Leave a comment below about your “something new” so we can pray for you!

Resources: Note that Mary and I are affiliates for CBD. We only recommend titles that we use and like.

327127: Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
By Mark Batterson / Zondervan
333029: The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
By Mark Batterson / Zondervan

photo credit: “HK Causeway Bay Hysan Place Eslite Bookstore inside restaurant kitchen Electric blender Aug-2012” by Elite S MoramelsOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

photo credit: Stepping out in Chucks via photopin (license)