Saturday, January 26, 2008

A word for the MIddle.

I posted this on Kerrie Hubbard's Caring Bridges Website.

I thought that many of you might encouragement from it... The following is a quote:

I just wanted to write to all of you who are in this battle with Kerrie. I think we need to remember that the hardest part of any race, of any assignment, of any chore -- whether we are talking marathon or 7K, Reaching the WORLD for Christ or teaching the three year old Sunday School class, cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina, or just cleaning my bathroom.

The hardest part is the MIDDLE.

That's because in the beginning we have gusto. Enthusiasm. The excitement of beginnings. The hope of accomplishment. Hope for change. Hope for success. That kind of energy lasts a while. At least until we realize what we've gotten ourselves into. And then, when that first burst of enthusiasm wanes, we find ourselves with nothing but a mess.

Sore feet.
Stinky refrigerators sitting at the curb.
Piles of clothes to sort.
Walls stripped of plasterboard.
And our arms feel heavy
And our legs cramp.
And we are hungry.

That, my friend, is the middle.

And that's when most of us want to take ourselves to the curb and give up too. "Maybe the garbage guys'll take me!"

We want to sit down.
Soak our feet.
Call the Maid Brigade.
Change the goals to fit the reality.

Sometimes, we even want to quit.

But the middle is always just before the end! It precedes the last half. The finish. The last lap.

And sometimes, when we are sweaty and stinky and sore, we must keep our eyes on the bell lap.

Let me put it this way. When Kerrie was riding up the HORRIBLE Hills of Washington, as we rode our bicycles across the state, I said this to her...

Keep your head down.
Don't even look at how far it is to the top of the hill.
Pick a spot, just up the road a tiny bit, and FOCUS ON IT.
Pick a sign, a reflector. Even a weed.
Say to yourself, "I can make it THAT FAR. And THEN, I can decide if I want to quit."

Keep your breathing even.
Calm your nerves.
Find your rhythm.
Don't let yourself be distracted the the HUGENESS of the hill. Watch the ground, the gravel, the ants as you pass by.
Keep your eyes on that tiny next step, and push toward that simple step.

It holds true for every task. Remember, the MIDDLE is really the hardest part.

Whether you are in the middle of your own hill.
Or you are in the middle of your prayer for Kerrie.
Or, in Kerrie's case, she is in the middle of a battle for her life.

The MIDDLE is the hardest part.

Where all of us, are most tempted to quit.

Remember the middle is JUST BEFORE THE END.
Keep your head down.
Don't look at the size of what is left.
Find your inner calm in Jesus.
Keep your rhythm.
Don't panic.

And you too can ride to the highest hills.

If you can just make it through the middle.


Susie said...

What a great reminder! Did I ever tell you about riding my bike through a mile-long tunnel with only my head lamp. You could not see the end of the tunnel for a long time and then when you could finally see it, it was only a pin-light. You absolutely had to keep your head down looking about 3 feet in front of you or you felt like you were going to crash into the side of the tunnel. Your blog reminded me of that and the lessons I learned in the tunnel! Thanks!

Sherrie Ashcraft said...

What an awesome post, Bette. I so totally agree that the middle is the hardest place to be. That's one reason I think it's so meaningful when Paul says that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion." God doesn't give up in the middle of what He's doing in our lives.