Seasons

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/changing-of-the-leaves-3-1186746

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/changing-of-the-leaves-3-1186746

I listened to a podcast recently by Rob Bell. This is something I do frequently because I happen to think the RobCast is quite amazing. In this episode, Rob worked through the idea of seasons. His main point was that life has different seasons we experience, and it’s important to be aware of what season we are in.

This idea made a lot of sense to me. Seasons in life are vast and varied and everyone has them. It helped me think through the season I’m experiencing right now.

Life has various ebbs and flows to it. There are those times when things are slow and lingering, and those that are fast and ephemeral. Sometimes we’re burning the candle at both ends; other times, we’re savoring the slowly unfolding days.

Seasons look like school and college and living at home. They look like moving out and getting a job. Sometimes relationships are seasons. We experience them in months or years and then we move on to what is next. Jobs can be seasons too.

What worked for five years might not work for five more. How we did something for a season, might not be how we do it for the next season.

All of this and more made complete sense to me. When looking at life through this lens, it’s easy to see how we’ve experienced different seasons in our lives and how we might be ready for a new one.

Something Rob said that connected forcefully (like a left hook from Pacquiao), was the importance of grieving the end of a season.

We may find ourselves feeling sad and nostalgic, with a heavy heart and a pain deep in the recesses of our soul. We might not know fully why we have these feelings. It could be that we are experiencing the end of a season. And we’re grieving its end.

Sometimes a season ends, but instead of letting go, we hold onto to it for fear of change or losing what we had. We see this all the time, don’t we?

Someone stayed just a little too long in that relationship.

You knew the job was over, but you hung around another year.

Instead of letting the season end, you clung on for the next one, trying to force the past into the future.

But the thing about seasons ending is that it’s usually pretty clear when they’re over. When we embrace the ending of one season it means the next one is beginning.

When the quintessential rock band of the eighties, REM, threw in the towel and called it quits a few years ago, there was a compelling quote by lead singer Michael Stipe. He said,  “The skill in attending a party is knowing when to leave.”

There’s a lot of truth to that. Knowing when a season is over, and knowing when it’s time to embrace its end matters. It matters a lot.

Is there a season in your life at the moment that is coming to an end? Do you sense that what you’ve had so far–although it might have been good and beautiful– is over and it’s time to transition?

I’ve been walking alongside some of our recently graduated seniors, transitioning them to life beyond high school. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially in the church world.

When you’ve been part of a group for four years (or more!) and you’re used to a certain way of living and existing, it’s hard to make that leap. This reminds me of another important aspect of transitioning seasons: It’s okay if they take a little time.

Pulling off the band-aid doesn’t work well with every transition. Sometimes, we need to purposefully and intentionally take the time necessary to close the season.

We walk through the valley together.

We take time to recount the memories.

We celebrate and reflect, but we also dream for the future.

Seasons come and go.

You might be starting a new one or ending one. Take time to grieve the passing of the old season and rejoice at the beginning of what is new. Life, after all, isn’t about staying the same, but about growth and change and moving onward.

Some of you may find yourself in a brand new season. Perhaps you’re contemplating your next move. Perhaps the future is upon you and there is a choice to make. Maybe this scares you.

A little advice…

Embrace the fear and uncertainty. God didn’t bring you to this place so that you’d lose. He brought you this far and will continue to guide you forward. Remember that. Remember His presence in your life; remember the love God has for you.

The changing of seasons will inevitably cause us to wonder, doubt, and rethink everything. That’s just how they work. But don’t get lost in the torrent of emotions and confusing details. Just remember to pause and breathe.

Take a deep breath and breathe in the oxygen God has given you. Be still and know that He is God.

Seasons come and go.

Transitions are joyful and scary and a little stressful. This is normal. Remember to embrace the ending of one season, so you can accept the dawning of a new one.

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