Featured Reviews, VOLUME 6

Jeff Goins – The In-Between [Feature Review]

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0802407242″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Vi9Aer2-L.jpg” width=”222″ alt=”Jeff Goins” ]The Value of Waiting.
A Feature Review of

The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing

Jeff Goins

Paperback: Moody Collective, 2013.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0802407242″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00BUOMM8S” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]
Reviewed by Andy Johnson.
Nobody likes to wait. Organizing our lives around going where we want to go and getting what we want quickly, we spend as little time waiting as possible. In his new book, The In-Between, Jeff Goins aims to reshape our views of waiting and the in-between times in our lives. Waiting is more than an unfortunate hindrance to where we hope to go. It is a gift that teaches us to slow down, to let go of our expectations and to appreciate the gradual growth and wisdom that comes from the in-between.

The choice we face is to seek immediate gratification or to embrace waiting as a time to grow. What makes waiting so hard is that it reminds that we are unfinished. Although we would love its fruits without having to endure the process, waiting through life’s delays is what “…force(s) us to rely on patience and faith to fill the gap between where we are and where we want to be.” (25) This perspective gives value to the times that used to feel wasted on waiting for the important things in life.
The notion that waiting is a positive agent for change grows out of the author’s life experience. His anecdotes read like a memoir that makes it easy to relate with his theme. The first of three parts of the book addresses the lessons that come from slowing down. Studying abroad, visiting home during college, and traveling with a band all helped him to realize what he was missing by rushing through life. He learned that, “Maybe…God is less concerned with exactly what I’m doing and more concerned with who I’m becoming.” (65)
The second part looks at calling and marriage as facets of our lives that are well worth the wait. Waiting is a critical part of discovering a calling because it is more like something we become than something we find. It takes paying attention to our lives and looking for what has always been there to discover what we are meant to do.
The months and years spent waiting for marriage are more than an inconvenience. Finding love and learning to love both take time. Sharing his own love story, Goins writes that, “This in-between time helped me understand what it means to commit, to love without condition or reservation.” (109) As a newly married man, I concur that waiting longer than I expected to get married has been the most important preparation for love.

The third part of the book concludes with some thoughts on what happens when the waiting ends. Sharing the story of unexpected change at the end of his grandfather’s life, Goins reminds us that transformation consists of both gradual and decisive change. “Sometimes the transformation we’ve been waiting for is actually waiting for us, slowly drawing us in over time. Until one day, we break down or give in or simply decide to live differently.” (141)
The In-Between elevates the value of waiting in our lives. I have often viewed the tension I’ve felt while waiting for the next big thing as a sign that I have lost my way but this book has helped me to realize that critical changes can only happen in my life as I wait. The In-Between will provide comfort for those who feel disappointed that they haven’t arrived and motivation to make the most of times when they are waiting for their dreams to unfold.
Jeff Goins has penned a refreshing perspective on an aspect of life that we all experience. The In-Between is easy to read, practical and more narrative than theory. It invites us to reconsider our frustration with what seem like interruptions and to realize that we grow the most while waiting. “What gets us to our destinations are the pauses, the breaks, the in-between.” (158)
Andy Johnson blogs at JustAndyBlog.com.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
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  1. Thanks, Andy! I appreciate the review.

    • Thank you for this encouraging book, Jeff! It has helped give me a new perspective on one of the most challenging waiting periods of my life.