Friday, March 2, 2012

Seasons



God often can't move us into the new season He's calling us to until we've let go of the season we've been in.
There's only so much room on our plate...
and in our hearts.


I've watched people both fail miserably and succeed gloriously at this.
Either way there's pain and heartache, but only one path comes accompanied by growth.


We know God may be calling us to let go of a season, to move on to a new phase of life. Things start to stir, routines that used to be normal and comfortable suddenly seem ill-fitting. We'll say things like, "I don't know..." and, "I'm just not sure what this feeling is..."
Now, sometimes we're creating those things out of selfishness or unfaithfulness... a pursuit of something God does NOT have for us. We're looking for something new when He's saying stay put and be faithful.
But, if we're in tune with God and walking where He leads... with His Spirit and what He's doing in us, we'll recognize what's going on when we're supposed to move on to something else.
That's when we need to buckle down and pray.
For direction.
For whispers.
For confirmation.
And God is always so faithful to bring those. It may only be a slight nudge, but that's why we need to be paying attention to what He's doing... so we'll recognize the nudge for what it is.
(If we're not paying attention, we'll wait longer than we should, and then it could be a very abrupt push... which is also effective, but I think He tries to get our attention with a nudge first. *wink*)


I've watched people be stirred to let go of a season they've been walking through.
I've sat back and observed the process, knowing God is calling them into something new, something amazing.
I've watched them not give up the current season.
They hold on... and hold on... and wonder why things feel ill-fitting. They may suspect they're supposed to give it up, but it's been comfortable for so long. So, they keep holding on.
They inevitably try to push and create a newness in an old season. With a flurry of activity they rouse everything up and hope to re-stir something that should have already been put to rest.
They're not ever content. They're restless. It affects those around them.
And there is pain. And there is heartache.


Some of these people I've watched finally let go, and even though it took longer than it should have, they finally enter into a new season. They breathe a sigh of relief, realizing that what they thought were joys in the old season had actually become burdens because they held on longer than they should have.
And the growth comes much later than it could have.


I've also watched some hang on so long that even when they do finally let go, they're bitter and discontent. They blame everyone else for feeling unfulfilled, for things not working...
when it was simply that they had held on far too long.
And there is pain. And there is heartache.
And there is no growth.


Then there are still others I've watched walk through the stirs, walk through the suddenly ill-fitting awkwardness.
I've heard them voice the wonderings, watch for indications.
Then I've seen them let go.
Let go of what has been a wonderful season.
Let go of the hopes that more glory would come in that season... and walk into a new season.
Embracing the unknown with the hope of well-discerned whispers.
Standing confidently on the faithfulness of their God, and holding dear the stories of the old season to bolster that faith for the new season.
And there is pain. And there is heartache.
And the growth is beyond anything they had imagined.


I will wear my winter coat now, because it's Winter. And it is wonderful and completely how it should be for this season.
But if I move into Spring and Summer in that winter coat, it's going to be ill-fitting and awkward.
Even if I say, "This is how it should be. It's right to wear the coat." and I get up everyday and put it on, everyone around me will obviously recognize that I shouldn't be wearing the coat.
And if mid-Summer, after much heat and discomfort, I finally do take off the winter coat, I'll feel so relieved! And I'll probably wonder why in the world I didn't take it off sooner.
But, if I keep that winter coat on all through the Spring, all through the Summer, thinking, "See? It's fine! It's going to be the right season again." Then come Winter, I'll still be wearing it. 
But it will be worn and tattered, and what I've held onto thinking, "This will be right. I will persevere until it is how I feel it should be!" actually never is.
Everyone around me has seen me continue to wear the coat, and knows that it is worn and tattered.
But, I refuse to see it... because that would mean I didn't take it off way back when I should have.


It's never too late to take off the now ill-fitting coat.
It's never too late to let go of what you knew you should have a long time ago.
But, hopefully... and hopefully first... we'll be listening for the whispers and nudges and recognize the changing of the seasons for what they are, so we don't find ourselves wearing a heavy, burdensome, ill-fitting coat mid-Summer.
And there will be some pain. And there will be some heartache.
And there will be some discomfort.
But there will be growth.





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