THE ‘.5’ MIDDLE

WORDS FROM W.W. April 26, 2011

A TV show that I, unfortunately, don’t get to watch very often is entitled Middle. It’s about a family that is, plain and simple, middle class. And yet, there is always something unique about their “middleness.” Every episode seems to have its rising and fall, or fall and rise. They struggle with things like third grade math, teenage driver’s license, and getting cut from sports teams.
It mirrors a lot of our life, even down to dental braces!
I find that a lot of life has similar characteristics. I was answering some questions about being a pastor recently- the feelings I have, my energy level, whether or not I want to hug the congregation on a Sunday or strangle them (Not really!).
It was one of those tests where you give a number rating between 1 and 6.
“If people seem to get very excited while you’re preaching give yourself a “6”. If you fall asleep while you’re preaching give yourself a “1”. Or rate yourself somewhere in the middle.”
“If you are always happy and upbeat, give yourself a “6”. If you watch Comedy Central with an uninterrupted scowl, give yourself a”1”. Or rate yourself somewhere in the middle.”
“If a casserole is placed in front of you and you start salivating, give yourself a “6”. If you take a casserole dish (still filled) and throw it against a wall, give yourself a “1”. Or rate yourself somewhere in the middle.”
My problem (one of them!) is that I find myself wanting to write a “.5” between each of the whole numbers. Sometimes I’m fairly excited- maybe not as much as a pentecostal snake handler, or a pastor who has done multiple communion services with “happy juice”, but still fairly excited. However, if I rate myself “too excited” I’d be stretching matters.
Give me a “3.5” spot to circle.
Life has a lot of “.5’s” in it. Christians beat up on one another because we seem to flow back and forth from joy-filled to joy-less. “Is it possible for me to be close to Jesus and not be happy? Yes!” We’re like a kid making waves in the bathtub. The water splashes out on both sides, not just one side.
“.5” tells of the fluctuation of our lives. Each day has the potential to go either way. If I draw blood while shaving, the day could go south real quick.
I could be singing praises to God one moment and, in the next, be cussing out the policeman who has his lights flashing behind me.
I could be charging ahead with ministry plans one moment, and then, in the next moment, wadding up the paper plan because of the sudden resignation by a key volunteer.
I’m in that “.5” most of the day.
And it’s okay!
Because, you see, God is Lord of the middle, not just the mountain-top ratings and the valley lows. He’s intensely with me in those moments when I’m not sure which direction that moment is going in, or how positive or negative my attitude is on the verge of pointing towards.
Most Americans are middle-class, yet we refer to it more often than not as a place to move away from. We desire to be heading more towards Forbes and less towards Crime Digest.
The Bible talks about the first being last, and the last being first, but what about the half-in and half-out? In the moments when “I could go either way” God is there with me. That’s quite often difficult to remember, but it’s true.
Just something to think about!
If you’re in the middle of something right now, just pause and give God thanks for being there in the midst of it with you.

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One Comment on “THE ‘.5’ MIDDLE”

  1. Clara Morgan Says:

    God is often most present to me in the gray- not the black or white- and so often in the .5 moments. Hope you had a meaningful Easter and that your life continues to be filled with resurrections, rebirths, and God’s light!


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