A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)
It’s summer time. As I scroll through my Facebook posts, dozens of photos of people are on vacation or enjoying backyard cookouts with friends and family – and the endless rain won’t stop us! Since I’m from Ohio, summertime is a big deal because there are things we can do in the summer that we can’t do in the winter. Sure, we can grill in the winter, but it’s not much fun flipping burgers in our winter coats. And, let’s be honest, only the crazy people go swimming in January. Yet, in the warm summer sun, we’re free to swim until we wrinkle like raisins. This reminds me of an important observation: How we live absolutely depends on the season in which we are living.
Smart folks out there have created analogies to relate our weather seasons to our seasons of life:
- Winter = difficulty, sadness or struggle (hardship, illness, or loss)
- Spring = renewed hope, regeneration (forgiveness, new job or new love, positive change in life direction)
- Summer = happiness, joy, stability, progress (extended period of contentment)
- Fall = unsettled, transition (considering job change or ending a relationship)
What season of life are you living in? Are you embracing your “for now” life?
There’s a God-ordained rhythm to the ebb and flow of our lives. Our problem comes in when we want to decide that we don’t like the season of life we are in and we start pushing to change things that God isn’t ready to or isn’t planning to change. It took me a long time to become content with the season I was living instead of trying to force my way into a new situation. There’s a phrase that I remember and share often with others: “This is your ‘for now’ life.” It won’t last forever, but it is your reality “for now.”
When my kids were small, my “for now” life was nothing like it is now. Then, life was centered around my kids, naptime and dinner time. There were no long girlfriend lunch dates, but there were play dates. There were no long, quiet afternoons alone, but there were precious afternoons reading and cuddling with my girls. As much as I wanted to do other me-centered things, I knew that time would pass quickly (and it did!), so I concentrated on making the best of those moments. That phase of my life ended many years ago, but I have some incredible memories of the loooonnnngggg days I spent with my kids.
Years later, there was another “for now” season of life that was bleak and dark. Things were tight financially because I left my well-paying job to work part-time in ministry. We still had three kids in private school. So, there were no Caribbean cruises or spending sprees, but we had some great (free!) weekends with our family and friends. And while we weren’t able to afford to eat out as before, I discovered a talent for making great pizza dough and we enjoyed some great Friday family nights with homemade pizza and free movie rentals from the library. After a few years, that season of life passed into a different one, including both good and bad.
I’ll ask again: what season of life are you in? Here are some questions to think about:
- What are the balconies (the good aspects) and the basements (bad aspects) of where you are at?
- How can you make the best of this season and position yourself to move as spiritually, emotionally and physically healthy into the next season?