Book Review by Joey Espinosa of The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing by Jeff Goins (Author), Niequist Shauna (Foreword)

Last year, I had a goal to spend 10 minutes each day (for the month of June) just being still and mindful. I failed within the first week.

What about you? Do you have a hard time being still? Do you have a hard time waiting? Do you see the past 12 months (or more) as a handful of major moments, separated by periods of nothing?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, buy a copy of The In-Between by Jeff Goins. Then carve out a few hours to read this short (160 page) book. Or, read a chapter or two at a time, and spend an hour (or a day!) meditating on what you just read. Goins spent most of his youth chasing the next big thing in music, school, and travel. But a series of experiences showed him the importance of waiting. Instead of viewing our lives as a collection of major events, he calls us to enjoy the daily mundane. Those moments of waiting, those moments that fall in between the thrills, may be “our greatest opportunity to grow.”

“Some people wait their whole lives for the right career to come along, refusing to begin their lives until they have more clarity. Longing for a vocation that will complete them, they sometimes never find their life’s work. What I’ve discovered is that the opposite is true: while we wait for our callings to present themselves, they are waiting on us to wake up to the signs.” (p. 82)

In-Between Parenting

If you are a parent like I am, you know how much of a struggle it can be to wait. We don’t want to wait to know the gender of our unborn child. We can’t wait until they sleep through the night, and then when they are out of diapers. We can’t wait until our sons are able to mow the lawn.

I loved the story that Goins tells about his newborn son who is refusing to sleep one night. As his son fights back, Goins gives up hope, knowing that he will have to endure yet another sleepless night (Parents – can I get an “Amen”?).

This new father makes the decision to embrace the reality, and only then is he able to join his son in appreciating that moment they were sharing.

“I consider what would have happened if I hadn’t taken the time to come downstairs and tend to my on. If I hadn’t surrendered my sleep to experience this wonder, I never would have had this moment. We never would’ve laughed together; I never would’ve seen his smile. Sure, there would have been others, but not that smile. In those wee hours, I discovered the joy of slowing down to live at the speed of my son. . . .

“I’ve dedicated countless hours to rocking and patting and bouncing my son to sleep, hours I can never get back. I’ve lost them. Looking at my child resting peacefully after our sweet exchange, I realize that if I could get those hours back, I wouldn’t want them anyway.” (pp. 124-125)

I’m not going to lie. I read those words and got teary-eyed thinking of the memories of those mundane – and sometimes frustrating – moments with my children.

An In-Between Life

The entire book has been inspirational and encouraging to me, but especially these parts:

“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. We are still in progress, unfinished masterpieces full of incompletion. And although I know this, I resist, it. For the fruit of waiting – the outcome, the resulting growth – I am grateful. But for the process – the part that causes the growth – I am not. Waiting is hard. It forces us to acknowledge our imperfections, our own unfinshedness.” (p. 24)

“God is less concerned with exactly what I’m doing and more concerned with who I’m becoming.” (p. 65)

“Some people wait their whole lives for the right career to come along, refusing to begin their lives until they have more clarity. Longing for a vocation that will complete them, they sometimes never find their life’s work. What I’ve discovered is that the opposite is true: while we wait for our callings to present themselves, they are waiting on us to wake up to the signs.” (p. 82)

“Maybe what I write won’t ever make an impact on anyone but me. And if that’s the case, I’m fine with that because I am doing what is mine to do, and that’s all any of us can really hope for.” (p. 93)

I’m not going to lie again. As a blogger, this last quote also brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.

What Are You Waiting For? 

If you also struggle to slow down an be still, there is still hope for you. But don’t wait any longer. Get your copy of The In-Between today.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10