I'm always amazed at the growth that takes place in me when I am placed in a difficult season of life. Like, OK God, I get it but why does it have to be hurt? Does it always have to be painful to grow and mature in Christ? I don't know if it does or not, but it seems to me that my biggest areas of growth in my life have come during seasons of struggle, pain or discomfort. I add discomfort, because many positive changes in my life have produced growth, but they are usually things that take me out of my comfort zone so even though it's a good situation it is still uncomfortable and awkward. I feel like growth requires some type of pain or discomfort because it helps us to focus and retain the lessons if we have to struggle through them. Things that are easy are also easily forgotten so it makes sense. That is why I have to remind myself that in times of struggle that it's just a season and it will pass if I give it time. That is what this week's study is about, how the seasons of life change and what each one does to help us grow.
This Week's Scripture Focus: Song of Songs 2:11-13
"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."
I can't help but read this passage and think about all the different seasons that have come and gone in my life. I feel like there are times that I'm living in Autumn, just coasting through life feeling very complacent and things aren't really good or bad. They are just comfortable like being curled up with a cup of coffee and a blanket on the porch on a cool fall morning. It's a very content place to be. The problem with living in fall is that if you stay there too long nothing really happens to move you forward. You just kind of stay stagnant and average. It does have its benefits because there are times when we need to rest and recover and the life season of autumn is great for helping us to relax and get in some self-care, but I'm certain that God doesn't want us to stay in a season of complacency and so he shakes things up and sends us a nice cold winter breeze to make us uncomfortable enough to get up and move around a little bit.
When we hit the winter season of life, we have to take action or we will freeze to death. God knows exactly how much winter we need in order to prod us into forward momentum that will eventually lead us to Spring. He is very good at helping us see through the blizzard so that we can find our way even when it feels like nothing is going right and everything is gloom and storms. It is during this time that the seeds of growth are being planted so that when spring arrives we will be ready. The thing we have to be careful about is not to unpack and live in winter. Just like any other season of life, there is a time to move on. If we hunker down too long and forget that it's just a season and not a life, then we can get discouraged and fall into hopelessness. It's important to remember that God promises us that spring will always come and we can live in the hope that when it does it will be marvelous. In the meantime we can lean on God to keep us safe and warm.
When spring arrives, we are full of hope and excitement, knowing that we have survived winter and we can fully embrace life and the new things that have been added to our character through the seeds that winter nurtured. Sunshine is all around us and God is creating in us a new and amazing person that is stronger and more resilient from our past experiences of winter. The thing about spring is that as exciting as it is, it does eventually lead to summer and our excitement sends us into a full on purpose building mindset that can push us into burning on all cylinders and drive us towards this new person God created during the seed planting of winter and the growth of spring. If we aren't careful, summer becomes a time of overwhelming, non-stop momentum that can lead to burn out. It is important for us to find a balance between pushing towards our purpose and restful, self-care when it's needed. This is when God brings us full circle right back to Fall and a time of rest.
Isn't it amazing how God can create the seasons of our life to bring about rest, discomfort, growth, and purpose and then bring the process full circle to start again. This is what God talks about in Ephesians when he says he works in us to do "good works which he has prepared us in advance to do." His plan is to give us seasons in our life that will keep us on track to be prepared for our purposes he has for us. So, the next time your are feeling complacent, gloomy, excited or overwhelmed, think about what season of life you are in and talk to God about it. Lean on him and trust in him to know that his timing and plan is perfect, and remember he is always there for you to climb up in his lap and be snuggled and warmed by his presence. It's only a season and seasons pass.
1. What season of life are you in right now?
2. Are you unpacking in your current season of life or are you walking through it at the pace God desires for you?
3. What can you do to embrace and accept God's timing in your life right now?
4. How can you help those people in your circle recognize and embrace the season of life they are facing right now? Perhaps it's just taking time to share this article with them so that they can evaluate their own season.
Until next time, keep striving to become the amazing woman of God he created you to be.