The 3 Seasons of Life
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
Today we have our Sixth installment of the Whole Hearted Series. We've been doing this for SIX WEEKS! I'm so happy about how it's been going so far: blogging has really lit up my life in a whole new way.
I'm blogging from bed right now, with a suitcase packed and waiting across the room. This year we are going up North to celebrate Christmas and New Years! I was considering taking the Holidays off from the blog, but I'm seriously so addicted to writing that at this point I just cannot slow down the writing train.
For today, I decided that I wanted to talk about "seasons" in life: specifically, times of plenty, times of pain, and times of waiting. Settle in!
Seasons of Plenty
Ah, the coveted "Season of Plenty." Don't we all wish to be in a Season of Plenty 24/7? I know I do! This is the time in life when you are not facing any insurmountable obstacles or challenges: all your needs are met, you are not in conflict with anyone, and you find yourself abounding in good health. You are living in true blessing and peace.
You would think that with all the goodness in the Season of Plenty, it can be basically impossible to do anything wrong right? Well, unfortunately, I have found that the Season of Plenty can bring out 2 problems:
1. You forget that others are going through pain.
OR 2. You feel guilty for enjoying your blessings.
Now, neither of these things are guaranteed to happen, but I DO think it's important to be aware that they CAN happen.
So addressing No.1: We all experience life through the lens we are given, and in the midst of incredible blessings and joy it is natural to fall out of touch with the realities of pain and suffering. However this disconnection turns hurtful when we become forgetful of the needs of others.
I think that the Season of Plenty is a time to share with others. For example, Grant and I have decidedly marked our Season of Plenty through hospitality and generosity, by reaching out to others who are struggling as well as volunteering in our church. We have full cups, and are ready and willing to pour into others who need help.
The Seasons of Plenty outfits you with more energy, blessings, and radiance than you could ever need for yourself. Share with others!
Secondly, please do not feel guilty when you are experiencing the Season of Plenty. I often hear the guilt in people's voices when they tell me that they haven't really "experienced" anything truly painful in life. PEOPLE! That is not a bad thing! That is a true blessing, and you are not to feel guilty.
Please allow yourself to enjoy joyful seasons in your life. Enjoy the goodness, fill your home with laughter, and abide in peace. You are simply exhibiting a spirit of THANKFULNESS when you enjoy the good things that God has placed in your life: do not feel guilty for not suffering, just enjoy your blessings and SHARE them with others.
Seasons of Pain
Next we have the dreaded Season of Pain.
You can NEVER mentally prepare for the Season of Pain. I have discussed this before, but dark seasons and traumas ALWAYS hit you out of nowhere: your spouse could cheat on you, you could lose your job, your parent could die, or you could come down with a terrible illness. These are NOT dramatic examples; people experience these horrible things every day!
But just because you are in a Season of Pain does not mean that you should just give up and throw yourself into the belly of the beast; no! There are ways to actively fight and cope with what you are going through.
First of all, in the Season of Pain, it is CRUCIAL to stay connected with God. Even if that means actively expressing your anger and frustration towards him, just stay in communication.
Remember that even Jesus cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!?" I have cried those words out too, and I have not experienced anything even CLOSE to being nailed to a cross and separated from my Heavenly Father.
Secondly, it is important in a Season of Pain to have an accurate understanding of what is happening to you, and devise a coping strategy.
First, realize if what you are going through is temporary or long-term. Many types of pain will be chronic, such as an illness, divorce, or death. In contrast, a shorter "Season of Pain" could be the first six months with a newborn baby, while you are your spouse are disconnected physically, dealing with sleep deprivation, and just in general, figuring out the change that comes with a new baby.
Whether your Season is long term or short, devise a strategy to deal with it. You may need counseling, extra spiritual support from your church, or time set aside to pursue things like exercise, or a hobby. Strategizing a way to cope will help you get through the season.
Finally, my last words of advice are this: in grave and serious times it is OKAY to feel grave and serious. Don't feel like you have to "put on a face" or "lighten up." It is good and healthy to have a natural response to difficult things. It is good to naturally grieve.
If you do not let the natural emotions, feelings, and responses pour out, you will end up exploding at a much later date. Allow yourself to experience what you are going through NOW because it is going to be A LOT uglier later on.
Seasons of Waiting
Finally, I want to talk about the Season of Waiting. In life we do not just go through joy and pain; we also experience melancholic times of waiting.
Life isn't black or white; sometimes it's gray and you feel stuck in your life. It is as if nothing is moving forward, but it's not exactly moving backwards either. It is easy in this season, to fall into exhaustion, depression, or anxiety, due to the uncertainty and ambiguous nature of your life.
My advice is this: accept the season you are in, and see how it is forming and shaping you. Seek out ways to learn from it, and vow to leave that season better than you were before.
My mentor once told me about her Season of Waiting. She does ministry work in another country, but was unable to continue due to a Visa complication. She was forced to return to her parents' Maple Syrup farm and wait an unknown length of time before her documents would be approved and she could continue down the path of ministry.
It felt so confusing that God would delay ministry work that would benefit his OWN kingdom! It made no sense that this bright and gifted woman of God would be tapping trees and playing scrabble with her parents. But God had a plan. In time, she began viewing it as a time to rest, connect with her family and simply "be." She did not worry and she did not fuss: she allowed life to happen.
Her story shows me that in the Season of Waiting, the most important thing we can do is trust in God's timing. It is important to trust that he will bring us to the next "level" when it is time, but that he may be using this slow season in our life to allow us to rest or to teach us something.
Use your slow season as a time of methodical healing and nurturing. Don't waste those slow times on Netflix: learn about the world, learn about yourself, and become mindful of your surroundings.
Finally, Do Not Compare
My last bit of advice today is to never compare yourself to others. I know this is difficult, especially with social media blasting everyone's Season of Plenty in our faces every day, but I would caution you all that just because someone's life looks incredible, it does not mean that it is ACTUALLY incredible.
I know of a blogger from Salt Lake City who's husband was murdered, WHILE she was a blogger. From her posts and blogs, you cannot really tell what was truly going on as all of the photos continue on as usual with light hearted beauty, but there is no doubt that she was experiencing a Season of Pain.
My point is that everyone will go through difficult and bland seasons in life, but seldom will they broadcast it to the world. Humans are naturally hopeful, desiring to show their best sides to the world. I do not fault anyone for this, but I always enter social media realms with a grain of salt.
I hope that whatever season you are in, you will find connection with God, connection with others, and connection with yourself.