For months, my husband and I have been in the “In Between.” It’s the label I’ve given to this season of praying, waiting for answers, meeting with the board of our organization, praying some more, and waiting for some more answers. I would love to tell you that I rock at the In-Between and that my Faith in God’s plan is so solid that I have total peace. But that would definitely be stretching the truth.
I have always had a planner. Not just the normal kind, but the color coordinated, inspirational quotes, sparkly page marker kind that is filled with pages of to-do lists and goals checked off. I actually love to literally check things off with a big check mark. I always sat in the very front of every college classroom. I always turned my assignments in early if given the option. I like to get. things. done.
So, the In Between for me is kind of like a slow form of torture. I seriously cannot deal.
I spent so much time thinking that if we could just make a final decision then we would be out of the woods. That the In-Between would go away as soon as we announced that we were moving back overseas to the states to raise the funds that we need to move forward with what we’ve been working on for the past 2 years. September was an aha! moment for me because we made the announcement and everything was finally set. But then we entered into another type of In-Between that I wasn’t expecting. The kind where you say so many goodbyes in your host country and prepare for yet another move and cry tears you didn’t even know you had in you for leaving a country you didn’t realize you loved so much. The kind where you figure out where you are going to live when you get back to the states and realize that you really don’t know how to cook anything without Peruvian ingredients.
What I’ve come to realize is that the In-Between is just life. No matter what country you live in or where you are or if you never leave your home town, there will always be moments of In-Between. Life isn’t given to us with a map or a set of instructions. It’s a journey. And I, for one, am taking back the In-Between. I’m no longer going to allow it to be something that is defined by worry and restlessness. I’m making a choice to thrive.
What I’ve learned is that hating the In-Between can suck all of the joy out of something that can really be quite wonderful. And that practicing thankfulness in each moment is worth it even when it’s hard. Dealing with the In-Between is hard for my color-coordinated-planner kind of attitude. So I’m trying to choose my attitude. I’m choosing to be thankful for the Right-Now. These moments sitting on the floor cleaning out old boxes with my husband and our baby girl. These days spent saying goodbye to friends in my host culture and long conversations that I will miss when I’m gone. The walks that I make down to the market on the corner to buy those last few ingredients that I need for supper. The funny song that the trash truck plays when it passes by my house early in the morning. All of these things that make Peru home.
I’m a work in progress for sure, but practicing thankfulness and not wishing the moment away have been two things that have helped my soul go from dying to thriving in the In-Between.
What about you? I would love to hear your tricks and secrets about making the most of the In-Between seasons of life! What are some things that you do to practice thankfulness in your host culture when the going gets tough?