Recently, as reflected in several posts, I have been really trying to explore how I get to the next step in my relationship with God. How I really, truly, let go and let God. How I say "As You Wish." And how I even know when I have. How I get comfortable that something is really what God wants, not what I want. And how I reconcile all of that with the idea that despite God's master plan for my life, not every step needs to be scripted by Him - I believe that sometimes He just lets me choose any of the multiple paths to get to where He wants me.
As I have been struggling with this, I have been listening to the song "Somewhere in the Middle" by Casting Crowns a good amount. The song really speaks to me. I suggest that you check out the complete lyrics, purchase it for your IPOD or buy the CD and listen to the song. But, just to get the point across, here is a verse followed by the chorus (I apologize in advance for the much longer quote than usual, but I want to share at least this much):
"Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves
Somewhere in the middle you'll find me
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle you'll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender
Without losing all control?
Fearless warriors in the picket fence
Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end
We are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences
The God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
Or are we caught in the middle?"
I think the song does an amazing job of capturing the struggle of truly giving it up to God. I particularly focus on the question "How close can I get, Lord, to my surrender, without losing all control?" That is exactly where I find myself a lot of the time. Losing all control is just plain scary. But until then, aren't I really just that person claiming to have "deep water faith" but hesitating or fearing or refusing to take the step into the deep end? And that part about trading my dreams for His . . . .
Sometimes, I think I do take that step into the deep end, but I don't even know if that is true. If I decide that I am comfortable with something, does that mean that I have let go? Isn't the point of faith doing a cannonball into the deep end because you just trust that God is in control? Instead, rather than diving in, my progress often is more like slowly getting into deeper and deeper water until what seemed very deep before is now nothing to think about. And, hey, progress is progress. It wasn't too long ago that I wouldn't have stepped into the baby pool.
But what makes the song so special to me as I try to figure this all out, is the ending.
"Lord, I feel You in this place
and I know your by my side
Loving me, even on these nights,
when I'm caught in the middle."
I have reached a point where I recognize that God doesn't want me to be in the middle. He doesn't just want some of me. He doesn't want me just getting close. But, I also believe that despite the fact that I am not there yet, God with his infinite patience has not given up. God is by my side, cheering me on, and loving me even though I am still Somewhere in the Middle. Even right now as I sit in my office writing this, I can feel that presence.
I don't know where people reading this may be in their own personal relationship with God. If you have made that next step - Praise God! But, in my experiences with people, I think a lot of people are like me; somewhere in the middle. Some have just taken the smallest of steps into the baby pool, and some are almost fully underwater. The point is regardless of where you are, while God may still want more of you, He is by your side and loving you. Don't forget to take notice that.
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I always re-read my posts at leastonce before I put them up (which likely leads several of you to ask why I don't catch more of the typos then). When I did that this time I decided to make edits to the first paragraph to be more honest. In the first draft, almost every where that it says "I" the first draft said "you" o r"we". While I am interested in the topics in a generic sense, it is really in order to apply it in my own life, so "I" is much more accurate.