The Messy Middle: Where Change Happens

The Messy Middle: Where Change Happens

In the Benedictine Center office, we’ve been talking about Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong (Random House, 2015). She makes that point that, if we want to experience real growth and change in our lives, we can’t skip the “messy middle” part of our stories.

The first pass at such an observation made us wonder if she was simply trying to help us remember that change is hard. Life teaches us that the process of transition inherently involves some difficult loss and letting go. It is natural to dislike the in-between time when we things are disquietingly unclear.

Messy is Integral to Process

This much seemed true to us, but we also noticed Brown suggesting something more important—that the messy middle is not just unavoidable; it’s actually integral to the process of change. As much as we might like to turn change on and off with the flip of a switch, we do not realize full and durable change without passing through the messy middle. The messy middle, we are coming to appreciate, is where we sharpen the disciplines of creativity and discernment enough to ennoble our courage and steel our convictions.

How thoroughly Benedictine of Brené Brown. She has affirmed the value of ordinary and everyday life, especially in its messiness, and she has given us some insight into why we need companions and grace along the road of transition. Grace-filled companionship is the “strong way,” as Benedict describes it from the first chapter of The Rule.

Encouraged Along the Way

The Benedictine Center exists to support and encourage people on the strong way—especially when life is messy. Whatever form your change might be taking, this place is safe harbor for tough questions. You can find here ways to engage spiritual practices that help you rekindle courage, wonder, and joy.

We may not be able to avoid the messy middle, but we can at least celebrate being in the messy together, accompanied by an intimately present and faithful God.


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