The In-Between | Jeff Goins

Summary of: The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing: A Spiritual Memoir
By: Jeff Goins


In ‘The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing,’ author Jeff Goins shares his spiritual journey of self-discovery and the various life-changing experiences that shaped his perspective on the importance of gratitude and community. Through stories of touring with his band, studying abroad in Spain, returning home after adventures, and learning from influential relationships, Jeff demonstrates the significance of finding beauty and meaning in even the seemingly mundane moments of life. This book summary will highlight key moments from these experiences and explore the overarching message of embracing the present moment and cherishing the people and memories around us.

The True Essence of Life Experiences

Jeff’s expectations of rock stardom during his band’s year-long tour across North America and Taiwan were shattered by the grueling nature of their journey, and many times performing for a small crowd. During their stay at a pastor’s house in a small rural town, they were introduced to a pantry full of donated food. The pastor insisted on making a meal out of the food for them, and they ended up having a simple, delicious meal together. Jeff realized that by focusing on his expectations, he missed out on the close community their band had formed. This made him realize that life experiences are not about the end goal, but the people we meet and how they change us.

Laughter as a Path to Self-Discovery

Jeff’s adventure in Seville teaches him the importance of building genuine relationships.

As a college student studying abroad in Seville, Jeff embarked on his exchange year with a thirst for adventure. He hoped to immerse himself in the city’s culture and return home with exciting stories to tell. His exchange provided him with a place to stay with Loli, a local woman who hosted him and another exchange student named Daniel. However, while Jeff made the most of his time by exploring the city’s nightlife, Daniel preferred to stay in with Loli most nights and watch TV.

One night, Jeff decided to take a break from his hectic schedule and stay in with Daniel and Loli. They watched an incomprehensible Spanish TV show, but when Loli burst out laughing, it was infectious, and soon all three were laughing together for hours. This experience made Jeff realize that he had been too focused on his own goals and failed to appreciate the community of people around him.

From then on, Jeff slowed down his pace of life and relished the time he spent with Loli and Daniel. They would have breakfast together, attend Bible studies and spend memorable evenings in front of the TV. Jeff had discovered that the relationships we build along the way are what truly shape us as individuals.

This story highlights the importance of taking a pause and recognizing the value of building authentic relationships with those around us. It is in these moments of shared laughter and genuine connection that we find our true selves.

The Beauty of Going Home

Jeff, after spending an exchange semester in Seville, was on his way home to Illinois for the holidays. He was not looking forward to the dullness of the place compared to his grand European adventures. However, a chance encounter with a fellow passenger, a widower and florist, changed his perspective. The florist made him realize that going home was not just an unavoidable obligation but appreciating the people who make it home. Jeff learned to appreciate the ordinary but beautiful things in life, like the barren beauty of cornfields in winter. The encounter left a significant impact on Jeff, and he would no longer take home for granted.

Cherishing Life’s Moments

Jeff’s encounters with two elderly couples in his small Tennessee church taught him the importance of gratitude for even the smallest things in life.

When Jeff and his wife attended a small church in Franklin, Tennessee, they met two couples who changed their perspective on life. Firstly, Jim and Lois, who despite Lois’ deteriorating health, taught them the value of living in the moment. Jim decided to take Lois on a spontaneous fishing trip to Virginia Beach, even though it cost him a fortune to fill up his RV. When asked about the cost, Jim shrugged it off, emphasizing that he didn’t know how much time he had left with Lois and he wanted to cherish every moment they had together. At a Thanksgiving service, Lois expressed her gratitude for being alive for another year, and spending that time with her husband and family.

Secondly, Madelyn and Al, who were also church members, showed Jeff and his wife the importance of cherishing even difficult moments. Al’s health was deteriorating, and Madelyn was grateful for every moment they shared. At the same Thanksgiving service, Madelyn spoke about how she treasured every hug, tear, and moment she had with Al, despite their struggles.

Both Al and Lois have since passed away, but their legacy lives on through Jeff’s perspective on life. Jeff learned the importance of cherishing every moment, no matter how small, and being grateful for the gift of life.

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