What To Do When You’re Stuck In The Middle

Goblet_fire_coverPop culture confession time: I am one of the last people in my generation who has never seen or read the complete Harry Potter saga.

It’s not because I think the series is demonic or promotes witchcraft or any moral reason like that. I actually did start reading the series about 13 years ago.

In fact I was the first kid in my class to get behind the books, introducing them to many of my friends. My mom saw them in a book catalog and brought the first one home to me.

I was hooked. I devoured the first three books. I even ordered the fourth book from overseas before it was released in the U.S. I was a megafan.

Then there was a gap between the fourth and fifth book. From what I remember this is when Potter-mania really started catching on in America, at least around the people at my school. Now seeing another person with a Harry Potter book was not strange; it had become the norm.

The first Harry Potter movie came out around this time too. And this was the beginning of the end of my fandom. I had great expectations, and to me that first movie did not ignite the same spirit as the first book did. I was sorely let down.

Then word came out that the 5th book in the series was going to be a staggering 700+ pages. Bundled with my disdain for the movie and everyone jumping on the Harry Potter bandwagon, this outrageous page count was enough to keep me from buying the book.

I haven’t touched a Harry Potter book since, and I’ve only seen one other movie in the series (the 6th one, randomly, on a date).

Perhaps one day I’ll read the last three books and watch the rest of the movies. But I gave up on them in the middle of the story because I did not want to undergo the difficult task of reading a gigantic book.

Because of my stubbornness I am missing out. I recognize this. The Harry Potter books have affected millions, and you hardly hear a bad word spoken about them. Had I not given up in the middle of the story, I am sure I would have been rewarded in the end for sticking through the difficult middle.

The Harry Potter series is so powerful because it is so epic in scale, because it is time-consuming and challenging to complete the journey through the books.

That’s the thing with a really great series of movies or books – if you stick through to the end, through the dull moments and the challenging parts, you really feel that sense of reward and accomplishment that comes with completion.

I think that’s why we so often have to face difficulties and struggles in life, even as Christians. God puts conflict and failures in our world to make the success we will one day achieve mean something. If you succeed at something without facing any challenge, the success is not so sweet.

When God puts obstacles in our lives, it’s not to test us. God does not get off on manipulating our situations and charting down observations like some 6th grade science fair project. He just knows any good story needs to have a little conflict. And when we trust Him with our story, we ensure ourselves the perfect ending.

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him… God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. (2nd Samuel 22:21-25)

There’s really no secret formula for what to do when you’re stuck in the middle. You just have to hunker down and stand firm in God’s foundation. You can’t let an obstacle, challenge, or failure signal you to put the book back on the shelf, no matter how big.

Get creative. Fight back. Try something different. Ask that God opens your eyes to seeing the challenge as an essential part of the journey. Believe that failures fuel the climax of stories.

What’s your pop culture blind spot? What’s a classic movie or book you can’t make it through? What challenge have you given up on in the middle of? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below:

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2 thoughts on “What To Do When You’re Stuck In The Middle

  1. I never made it through Harry Potter either! Because you gave up on them, I gave up on them-I still wanted to read them, but I had no one to share them with! I think that’s a lesson there too – other people are watching what we do and you never know how your actions may affect theirs – even with something as simple as reading/not reading a book! I feel like I’ve been stuck in this “difficult middle” all this year – but I’m not giving up. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Great point – our actions do not exist in a bubble. Everything has consequences. Glad that I could help with encouragement!

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