One of my favorite books to read with Jesse is We’re Going on a Bar Hunt. The book has a lot of repetition, so Jesse loves reading along with me. It’s the simple yet complex story of the adventure of a family to go look for a bear. On any great adventure, you’ve got to go through some adversity. In the case of the bear hunt, the family goes through long, wavy grass, a cold river, thick mud, a dark forest, and a swirling snowstorm until they come to a cave. It’s so cool (and the pictures are even better).
My favorite part is when it says:
We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh, no! We’ve got to go through it!
How true to life is this? We can’t go over the adversity. We can’t go under it. Yes, we’ve got to go through it. We have to swish through long grass, splash through rivers, squelch through mud, stumble through the forest, and shiver through the snowstorm.
Brene Brown has a sub chapter in her book, Rising Strong, called You Can’t Skip Day Two. The premise is that in most three-day conferences, day two is always the longest and hardest, and most people just want to give up in day two and hit Starbucks. But here’s the thing: if you skip day two, or if you skip the hard part of the middle, the end isn’t as sweet and usually makes no sense.
To me, the middle is holy ground. The middle is where I sat with a bunch of my high school friends this morning in our Discipleship Bible Study navigating through the forests and snowstorms to get to the other side. The middle is where our children are unsure about who is their friend and what is their identity, and we take each step with them. The middle is when a friend calls us and asks for us to pray for them.
This morning, I’m so thankful for the difficult steps and unanswered questions because that is where our faith is built and made stronger. Day Two is a beast, but there’s no story without it; it’s just fluff.
Donald Miller says it this way:
What we’ve forgotten is that every great story has to involve a difficult ambition, and must then travel through the land of conflict. The best stories have their protagonist wondering if they are going to make it.
I love hearing stories where someone has come to the end of something that brings them to a new place. This morning I was hearing things like…
- partying isn’t fun anymore; I’m done with it; it’s the same old thing, and I just feel crappy the next day
- sports was my world, and now that I don’t play, I have time to try new things, even though it’s scary
- I’m learning to appreciate new friends, and it’s scary. My world used to revolve around this one group of friends.
These are scary places. But how are we supposed to grow and change without facing our fears if life were different? How else are we to trust that He has a plan through all of it? That He’s holding you right in the middle, knowing all along that you will make it to the other side?
Go through the middle. Go to that holy ground. I’m so excited to see where you will find yourself on the other side.