What is your favorite season of the year? I am a spring guy myself. I love seeing and smelling the new growth of grass, plants, flowers and trees sprouting new leaves. Seasons are essentially different time periods throughout the year that are marked by two main elements, changes in temperature and the amount of sunlight produced in a day. I live in San Diego Ca where we we have sun 350 days a year and really only have 1 1/2 seasons. We have 10 1/2 months of perfect weather with scattered weeks of less than ideal weather. Us locals have to sometimes drive 2 hours away just to experience winter (pray for us!). Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy every change in weather, but there are just some seasons that are more enjoyable for me than others. This is equally true for me, and most people, when it comes to the different seasons of life. However, like seasons, life too must and does change whether we like it or agree with it or not. Therefore, it becomes important to our development as people, that we learn to sit with each season that life gives us.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaves. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
The Hope of New Seasons
I both love and resent this reminder in Ecclesiastes 3. I wish every season of life was like living in San Diego, full of 75 degree hiking and trips to the beach, but life is not so kind or predictable. It’s easy to enjoy and sit with a good season… life is good, people you love are happy and healthy and things are going according to “plan.” As Solomon describes there is a season for everything… birth and death, building up and tearing down.
Personally, I have been in a season of death or as Solomon describes, “a time to kill.” I have struggled through the loss and death of a friendship and dream. It’s in these seasons that we can easily questions God’s love and goodness toward us. But, ready for this… notice what follows a season of death, a time/season to heal! This gives me hope that the season I am in will not be forever and that new life follows death as often joy follows pain. Without this understanding of life, and trust in God, we would all grow easily tired and hopeless. I look forward to the healing promised. So how do we learn to sit with our seasons rather than resist them?
2 Keys to Sitting with your Season
- Embrace the Season you are in, not the one you wish you were in. It’s so easy for us to focus on the negatives in life. The truth is that God is able to redeem even the worst of situations and seasons. Even the seasons when things are not going to “plan.” Being able to sit with uncertainty and ambiguity is an important part of growth and maturity. One way we do damage to our souls is by associating and defining a good life as a life that lacks problems and pain. Often we would rather exhaust our efforts in avoiding and denying painful seasons through distraction and other destructive behaviors. But it is important for us to learn to embrace the season we are in and not the one we wished we were in. If while in winter one says to themselves, “I hate this cold, I wish it were summer.” And while in summer the same person says, “This heat is awful, I just wish it would be winter already.” That person misses life altogether… forever stuck in the promise of a better future while missing the beauty of today, even days full of struggle.
- Remember and Remind yourself that seasons aren’t forever (both good and bad ones). In the same way each of the four seasons produce different amounts of warmth and sunlight, so too do the different seasons of our lives. There are some seasons that feel and seem dark and cold, even at times cause us to feel distant from God and others. These are actually important realities we must remember and accept. All seasons serve a purpose in God’s redemptive economy. Without loss we will never appreciate what we have when we have it. Without painful seasons we will never be able to enjoy seasons of joy. If every meal you ate was amazing, you would eventually grow bored of amazing meals. There is at times a correlation between the length of our seasons and our resistance to them. Every season has a natural beginning and an end. However, the longer I resist or deny the season I am in the harder it will be to transition to the next one when the time is right.
Where you Sit Matters
I know a lot of people who hate sitting still, they always have to be doing something. As I get older I am learning the value of sitting still. Sitting has become a spiritual discipline for me. Every morning for about 10-15 minutes I sit still in the quiet of my living room (before anyone else wakes up). What do I do? Nothing! I try my best to sit, be still and accept what is real about my life and embrace the moment and day. I try to think about nothing. It is not always easy but oh so helpful to my busy heart, mind and life.
Sitting also slows you down and allows (if we are awake and aware) for greater perspective and peace. Sitting with our seasons is a gift given to us by a gracious God. The peace of God that surpasses all understanding (or seasons) which is able to guard our hearts and minds allows us to enjoy both pleasure and pain as gifts from God (Phil 4:7). The contrast is beautiful when we allow ourselves to sit and experience and appreciate it for all it is… just another season!