I am about halfway through a good book. I love to read, fiction mostly, but I make sure I read at least one non-fiction a month. When I started to do the internet thing to promote myself as a writer, I stumbled upon a writer, Jeff Goins. He was full of good writing advice and encouragement. I downloaded several of his free “Manifesto’s” and liked his style. So when he offered his latest non-fiction book as a pre-order I jumped at the chance. I just now got around to reading it. The title is “The In-Between-Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.” The book is great and it isn’t just about writing. Everyone should read it, especially those just out of college. It has me thinking.
My husband and I are (hopefully) coming up on an early retirement. We’ve worked hard for years. His first job at 13 and mine at 15. We have dairy-farmed together, made shake blokes, and logged, separately we have managed book stores, worked in factories, deli’s, taught school, worked in daycares, a hospital and remodeled 13 homes, just to name a few. My husband works harder than most men I know. He has worked most of that time with the results of a broken back at age 17, which resulted in crushed and missing vertebrae, as well as several fused. In the last 6 years he has had to surgeries due to a work related injury, one on his neck and one on his shoulder. He still works, hard, sometimes 60 hours a week in a factory. So we are looking forward to retirement. He’s a few years from 60 and I’ll be 50 next year, in today’s workforce that would be an early retirement.
Two years ago we took a trip to Georgia in February (our coldest month). We came back with a plan to sell our home and move south. We listed the house and started surfing the net for houses and business in the area, talked about it and got excited. Then a friend of mine who said she hated for us to move said, “Couldn’t you buy a house there for the winter and still stay here the rest of the year?” My reply, “Short of a miracle, we could never afford two houses.” But she got me thinking… (Thanks Sara). My husband for years joked around about selling everything and living in a camper, traveling like a gypsy. I always grouched and crabbed and reminded him how much I moved around as a kid, not to mention the 14 housed we have lived in since our marriage (which included several states). But after my conversation with my friend, and with some modifications, it wasn’t sounding so bad.
Now we are still showing our house, believing God is working in this less than perfect housing market. We still surf the net, but now we are looking at diesel motor homes with a slide out, a bedroom and a bathroom. We have family in Kentucky, and Tennessee, a daughter in Arkansas, a son 200 miles away (in Wisconsin), a daughter a few blocks away who can’t wait to get to someplace warmer, and our parents and siblings are in Washington state. We just got back from a 16 day trip to Washington to visit our parents and siblings. We hope to travel so that we can spend time with them all, and to see the parts of the U.S. that we haven’t so far in our travels.
So what does all of this have to do with Jeff’s book? We have been looking forward impatiently to retirement so much, that we have neglected the good things in our waiting time. My husband’s job is getting harder on his body, the sub zero temps and the long winters aren’t fun anymore. We miss our far away families in a way that we didn’t when we had kids at home. So “The In-Between” has reminded me of the importance of enjoying where you are now. Not that I’d completely forgotten, I just have been spending more time daydreaming about my future than looking for the blessings in my now. Jeff says in his book, “Maybe, I thought, God is less concerned with exactly what I am doing and more concerned with who I am becoming.” I have only recently started writing and have had some discouragements in the amount of sales. We are coming up on another winter and want to be out of here. But God has a plan. He wants us to continue to grow and stretch, and that happens just as much, if not more, in the waiting times, than in the active times.
When God’s chosen people were taken captive by Babylon, God told them it would be 70 years before He would begin to bring them back to Jerusalem. Now that is waiting. He also told them to build houses, take wives, and plant vineyards. He knew that they needed to be productive and provided for during their waiting time (Jeremiah). So are you waiting for something, a spouse, a great job, a vocation, calling or ministry? Are you impatient and spend more time in the future than in the now? Take Jeff’s advice and embrace the waiting. You’ll be blessed and way less stressed.
By the way, if you want to check out Jeff’s blog, here is the link.