If you haven’t realized it yet, life is comprised of seasons just as our calendar is divided by months, days, hours and those divided by: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Moving into and out of new life seasons is often difficult. We typically enjoy certain seasons of the calendar year more than others, I prefer Spring and Summer and often enjoy Fall but dislike Winter because in my area we still suffer through some cold weather, which is not my preference. Likewise, we often enjoy certain seasons of life more than others. The book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, says there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven and goes on to list the various times of life, including a time to live and a time to die. Many in my generation will remember the song by the Byrds, Turn! Turn! Turn!, which lyrically quotes Ecclesiastes and helps us to memorize that particular scripture. I digress, but truly life is broken into seasons as well.
So what do you do with that and how do you maximize your particular season and get the most from it that you possibly can?
1) Recognize what season you are in. Have you recently experienced a transition? Often transitions are upon us and we don’t even realize that we have stepped from one season into another. We can feel out of sorts and think that something is seriously wrong with either our mental or physical health only to realize that, of course, we feel differently as we have transitioned into a new life season.
2) Acknowledge the new season. By celebrating the previous season and reflecting upon all of the good things that came from that season, as well as, the not so good things that you have no problem leaving behind, you will get more from the current season.
3) Consider the new season. What might this new place bring to your life which is new and exciting and can provide fulfillment in areas of your life? What challenges might this new season bring?
4) Dress appropriately! Now it is winter in my area and if I were to go out in my favorite outfit, tank top, shorts and flip flops, I would be quite unhappy and find that I quickly would hate myself, my day and just about everyone around me, but if I choose my coat and new warm boots I will be happier and a little more tolerant. What new outfit or equipment does this new season require? Maybe I need to make some changes in order to be more comfortable in the new season.
5) Enjoy it! Seasons pass quickly, whether they are good or bad they will end. If it is a great season, squeeze every bit of joy from it. If it is a challenging season, hold on tight and know that this too will pass.
Often our seasons follow our age or the ages of our children and family. I hear parents lamenting their children growing older or moving out on their own. I find that each season of parenthood provides both challenges and joys. Part of being a good parent is adjusting to these seasons and asking myself, what do I need in this season and what does my child need from me during this season. I also ask my adult child what she needs from me. If I go into automatic, MOM mode, I will overstep her boundaries and compromise our relationship if I am not careful. (I wish I had this one down already but I am still new to this season.) I hear people, as well, struggling with a new season in relationship with their aging parents. I am new to this season as well but I am observing my friends who do it well and those who struggle in the hope that I will learn some things. I believe the questions that we ask ourselves are similar to the childhood seasons, what do I need from this season and what does my parent(s) need from me during this season. How do I care for my parents without trampling over their boundaries and treating them like children? Even if I feel that they are acting like children, I must remember that they are still adults (if they are still enjoying mental health) and they are the final authority over their lives and their decisions. My input may or may not be welcome.
There are also our personal seasons based upon age to consider. There is a time when the world is new and everything is a choice. Do I go to college or not? Do I marry or not? Do I live in the city or country, this state or that one? What career do I want to pursue? Do I see myself having children? The list of choices goes on and on during the early adult season. Once we are a little older there are jobs, spouses, children, housing, and the career and lifestyle ladder. Still there are choices but they are certainly beginning to narrow. Then there is the stage where children are leaving the nest, parents are aging, career is on the downhill slide or has changed and other choices are less important as we seeing our lives in a whole new light. Wherever you find yourself, if you are looking at or entering a new season, BREATHE! There are really no good or bad seasons, just different ones and as long as you prepare and adjust you can enjoy each one. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecc. 3:1) He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecc 3:11)