Tuesday Morning Book Review || The In-Between

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing (kindle version) by Jeff Goins.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to what Goins says at the beginning of his book:

How we spend our days, according to Annie Dillard, is how we spend our lives. If that’s true, then I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery story. Waiting to rent a movie. Waiting for the movie to end. Waiting to turn thirty. Waiting for vacation. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Life is an endless series of appointments and phone calls and procrastinated tasks that need to, but sometimes never, get done. It’s a long list of incomplete projects and broken promises that tomorrow will be better. It’s being put on hold and waiting in office lobbies and watching that stupid hourglass rotate again and again on the computer screen. It’s load times and legal processes – long, drawn-out, bureaucratic systems that leave sitting, watching the clock. Life is one big wait.

So it is, the in-between. The waiting.

I read this book the week waited to hear from our agency about traveling to Ethiopia to meet our son for the first time. Goins writes in a manner very similar to Donald Miller. There aren’t a whole lot of stats or next steps, but a lot of stories to help you see how to wait and walk through the in-between times of life. Because, as you’ll realize by the end of the book, most of your life is “the in-between time.” I love this, “Waiting is the great grace. It’s a subtle sign for those with eyes to see, reminding us there is work yet to be done – not just around us, but in us.”

The in-between times is about learning to be present and enjoy all of life. As Goins puts it, “We all want to live meaningful lives full of experiences we can be proud of. We all want a great story to tell our grandchildren. But many of us fail to recognize that the best moments are the ones happening right now.”

Here’s a great way to end this review from the book:

People don’t hate waiting when they know what they’re waiting for. What drives people nuts, though, is the postponements that happen for no apparent reason, the arbitrary delays and setbacks. We hate waiting for the things we think we deserve now, not later: the spot at the front of the line, hot food from the kitchen, the best job in the company. It’s not the waiting we dislike; we understand some things take time. What we loathe is the time after what we deem to be an appropriate amount of waiting. We can all be patient – to an extent – but then we have our limits. Our problem, then, is not one of impatience, but entitlement.

If you find yourself being impatient, waiting, trying to be in control or are in between something right now. This is a book worth picking. I enjoyed it immensely and was challenged by my sense of entitlement and when I think things should happen.

Home

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Home is the place where we sometimes hurt the ones we love, but the back door is always open – and there is always a seat at the table. We have a choice where we put our hearts and lay our heads, but home is where it’s always been. Home is home – not necessarily a location, but more than a feeling. It’s the place where we are loved even when that love is complicated and messy but still takes time to set a plate for you. -Jeff Goins, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing

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Jesus, Art & Worship This Morning

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Here’s a great reminder about appreciating art that can easily be applied to worshiping Jesus this morning in your church:

No passing and hurried glance at a great painting as we stroll down the corridors of an art gallery will ever suffice to reveal to us its richness and significance. If we sit down in a quiet gallery and limit our attention to a single picture, then it will act upon us. For a great painting is an active agent and can affect us. We need there to sit receptive, open-minded, alert, quiet, before it. Furthermore, no single introspection is sufficient. Many repeated visits to the same painting are required before we begin to grasp its significance. We know that we must wait patiently until, in its own way and time, it discloses its meanings. The truth in the painting must find and fit the need that is in us. -Charles Whiston, found in The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing

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Adoption and the Desire to Control

We are nearing the end of our adoption from Ethiopia and one of the main things I’ve learned is adoption is brutal if you have a control idol. That’s probably also true simply as a parent, but the process of adopting has brought this out even more in my life.

I get asked almost daily where things are, why haven’t you traveled yet, are you still raising money, I thought that was done ages ago. All great questions from well-meaning friends and family.

A little over a month ago we found out, after 3 and a half years, who our child in Ethiopia was. We had done rummage sales, sold coffee, asked family and friends for money, gave our last couple of tax returns to bring us to this point. This point of holding a photo of our child.

Here he is seeing our family for the first time and hearing about what his future will hold:

Judah

While this a milestone, it is not even the beginning. It is simply the next step in a long journey.

When you hold a picture of your child in your hands, the child you have been waiting for 3 years to meet, a child that lives on the other side of the world, that you can’t hold or look at or talk to is hard. It gets harder if you have kids and you try to explain to them about their new brother and they don’t understand why it is taking so long.

My favorite is when well-meaning people say, “Why is it so hard? Why don’t they just give the kids away? It shouldn’t so expensive or so long.” I agree and yet here we sit.

Right now, we are waiting to get the phone call that says, “Buy your plane tickets, your court date in Ethiopia is on this date.” And then we’ll go. We’ve been told it should happen this week, but we don’t know. Our lives go on, but they could stop at any moment. In the meantime, we wait.

The meantime, the waiting. It makes sense its on frustrating way. I started reading Jeff Goins new book, The In-Between this morning. Seemed appropriate. He says:

How we spend our days, according to Annie Dillard, is how we spend our lives. If that’s true, then I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery story. Waiting to rent a movie. Waiting for the movie to end. Waiting to turn thirty. Waiting for vacation. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Life is an endless series of appointments and phone calls and procrastinated tasks that need to, but sometimes never, get done. It’s a long list of incomplete projects and broken promises that tomorrow will be better. It’s being put on hold and waiting in office lobbies and watching that stupid hourglass rotate again and again on the computer screen. It’s load times and legal processes – long, drawn-out, bureaucratic systems that leave sitting, watching the clock. Life is one big wait.

So we wait. To bring a child home we’ve never met but almost 4 years ago began praying for and planning for. Hopefully this is the week we get to meet him!

Links I Like

  1. This looks delicious. Great summer grilling appetizer.
  2. Joe McKeever on The number one failure of 90% of pastors. Convicting post for leaders.
  3. 6 ways to develop leaders. Great insights into developing leaders.
  4. Tim Keller on The gospel vs. moralism. This framework has had a huge impact on my preaching in the last year.
  5. When you realize you have the comfortable life. If you are reading this, you have the comfortable life.