Gratitude Day 561
Mon., Jan. 25, 2021
Psalm 1:3 – He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of his life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.
Some seasons of life are fun, exciting and fill our souls.
And then? There are the seasons that are just so much more challenging.
I’ve had seasons that were full and demanding … but rewarding and energizing.
And then? I’ve had seasons that felt way too difficult and I couldn’t wait for them to finally be over.
I’ve walked through some seasons and wondered how I ever made it through. There was the season when I was in seminary. For three of those years, I participated in a master’s degree program while serving two churches as their pastor. School was two hours from the churches which meant I commuted weekly between school and pastoral ministry. This was my first time serving as a pastor and I was learning on the fly. During those same years, Hubby Rick and I got married, we moved, Rick changed jobs and we journeyed through the first year of Rick losing his eldest son in an accident. One day, I found myself taking a test to determine the current stress level in your life. Then, I took this same test for Rick. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that both of our scores were literally off the chart.
It was one of “those” seasons of life.
About a year after finishing seminary, I visited school one day. One of my former professors made the comment that he couldn’t believe how rested I looked. He said it was the first time he had ever seen me without dark, black circles under my eyes.
I didn’t know if I should laugh or if I should cry.
When we are in those challenging life seasons, usually our thoughts revolve around trying to get out of this difficult time. So many times, I’ve heard people say (and I have thought a million times myself), “Next week (or next month or six months from now or some other time period,) life will be so much better because I’ll have made it through (some specific situation.)” Here’s the deal. In a week or month or six months or whatever time period we’re banking on, yes, we might be through whatever is weighing us down right now. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll find ourselves in another situation that may or may not be equally or even more challenging than we our current one.
Yep, the next season may feel even more challenging.
Who is so ready for this season of pandemic to be OVER?
How many Americans were convinced that life would return to normal early in 2021 … only to witness what happened the first week of January?
Not only are we living in a season of pandemic, but we are also living in a season which has forced us isolate. Every day, we re-think who and how and why we interact with others. Countless areas of our lives are being redefined. Can we work from home long-term? When is it best for kids to get back to full in-building school? What are the long-term implications mentally for people who do not have regular access to support systems that are not readily available right now? When will my financial situation improve?
The list goes on and on and on.
I’m totally convinced that when the time is right for some 20/20 reflection of this time from the vantage point of a rear-view mirror, we will discover that there have been significant lasting impacts and changes to how people live, go about their business and make choices about what is most important. This is a season that will have long and lasting impact on our society and our lives.
With any season of life, it won’t always be this way, even if this is how it is right now. There will come a day when things shift. We’ll begin to resume some “normal” activities. But in the meantime, we’re in this season, whether we like it or not. Living in this season doesn’t mean we try and change everything so the season will be how we wished it would be. Living this season means we allow ourselves to breath when we can’t change something.
Right now is not the season for throwing all caution to the wind. Maybe, we need to sit in this season for a little longer. Maybe our role is to simply live this season right now and let it teach us something that we’ve been missing.
I’ve been reading this wonderful book by Emily P. Freeman called The Next Right Thing. Emily’s mantra is to simply figure out what the next right thing to do right now is … and do it in love. Live it in love. Embrace it in love.
In other words, live this season of our life in love and be OK with this.
Start small. Maybe it’s as simple as doing a load of laundry or making a phone call or sending one e-mail. Your next right thing maybe saying “No” to something, just as it could also be saying “Yes” to something you’ve been procrastinating. Life won’t always be difficult. But when it is, stop. Pause. Be aware of what you’re feeling. Thinking. Experiencing. Let your human side overrule your logical side for just a hot minute. Remind yourself this season won’t last forever. For now, simply live in this season, even as this season seems to demand more than you have to give.
Seasons have beginnings. They also have endings and middles. All phases of a season require your attention. Give yourself kindness to not rush through this season. Embrace these wise words from Mister Rodgers: “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Rather than dream of the ending, simply do the next right thing.
We’re all getting tired of this season. So am I. Yet, I hope that we can remember that seasons are bigger than we are. They come. They go. They invite us to discover or rediscover something about ourselves. A season yearns for us to dig deeper and exit the season more sure of just who we are. What is important to us. What our life calling is. How we can live more closely in union with God.
We don’t have to love the season we’re in right now. I pray we can welcome this season kindly and let it teach us something that we’ll treasure forever.
Seasons change. There will be day when you’ll feel that this current season will have changed. And we’ll all shout a collective, “Hallelujah!” In the meantime? Let’s see what God is teaching us. Waiting for us to discover. Hoping we’ll embrace.
For seasons of life, especially the challenging ones, I am grateful.
Dear God – We’ve been through many seasons of life. Some of them have been exciting and exhilarating and memorable. Others are much more challenging. As we journey through this current season, I pray we see this as a time when God can help us grow. Teach us something important. Place in our hearts a message we desperately need to hear. Amen.
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