What might it be like to ask God what season He would like you in? Perhaps He wants you to move on or stay where you are a little longer.
For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
It’s October and it’s 80 degrees outside. The once-soft leaves underfoot on my morning walk now crunch and scuttle, but the beads of sweat along my forehead make me crave an ice-cold drink. My system is confused.
In midwest America, where I live, some of these seasonal transitions are fumbly.
I remember the Christmas when we took a family walk after dinner, all of us in shorts and t-shirts, and then the first week in May when it snowed one last time.
These fickle-weathered days remind me: even the calendar can be overruled.
A Time to Mourn, A Time to Dance
Different than twenty years ago (though still the same in some ways), we believers tend to pace ourselves by the others around us. It’s easy to watch what once used to be separated by streets or towns or even a yard. Today I can see what my closest friend (states away) served for breakfast or how she celebrated her daughter’s birthday. Consistently peering down the block or across the street into another’s kitchen can also slowly train my brain to believe that I should be right where others are — or they, where I am.
Surely if my dearest friend’s 30’s include great exploits done for God, so should mine. (Right?) Surely if my neighbor settled into a beautiful rhythm of motherhood after her third child, I’ll find my rhythm then? (Right?) Surely if launching teenagers post-graduation was a rich process for a friend I trust, then it should be the same for me. (Right?)
But just as one moment in time means bitter cold in Russia, warm spring rain in Australia, and the first ice of the year in Terre Haute, Indiana, so do our seasons in God differ in one minute.
You may be mourning a distance in your marriage that’s grown over the years while your sister finally sees fruit in a wayward child for whom she’s prayed for a decade. She dances while you grieve.
You may be feeling the loneliness of a newly empty nest while your best friend revels in some of her sweetest years with her kids under her roof. Her spring is your winter.
Ask God His Thoughts for Your Season
This past spring, a friend — knowing some of the intricacies of my road — asked me, “do you think it’s a season for you to grieve?”
I’d wanted a spiritual spring alongside my physical spring. I wanted new life, fresh beginnings, and baby sprigs of growth, but God gave me a winter … God invited me into winter. A time to see barren trees in my life and mourn over the dormancy of things for which I prayed.
As I considered God’s gentle leadership, “winter” felt right … even in spring. My heart needed permission to grieve. I was reaching for spring, but God had a different timeline for me. And settling into His timeline brought my heart peace.
It also made me wonder: is some of our struggle and strife with our circumstances a result of not yet asking Him: what season do You have me in, God?
It seems that both casting stones and gathering them are each ordained by God (Ecclesiastes 3:5 ESV), but only He knows the when. Breaking down and building up (3:3), weeping and laughing (3:4), they each have their time. His time.
Could it be that He wants to help you define this season such that you know whether it’s time to weep or mourn …break down or build up …speak or be silent?
In His Word
The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
In Your Life
Take a minute, or five, to ask God: what is my season and, as I consider my season, how am I to live here, God?
And consider: might you be staying in a past season when God is gently parenting you into another? Or are there indicators in your life and heart that He wants to keep you in the season you’re in because there is more for you right here? (Take a minute to consider this moment in your life and what God may be revealing.)
For anyone who wants to dive deeper into the tension of talking to God throughout various seasons of your life and your days, Sara’s books ADORE and Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed offer soul-nourishing practices for engaging with God in the middle minutes of your day as well as reflections on finding Him in hidden seasons.