Last week’s blog post was all about the things I think graduates should know. Let’s be real though, graduates aren’t the only ones going through life transitions right now.
The truth is that our lives are always in flux. We’re continually in the process of beginning and ending different seasons of our lives. While life can sometimes seem monotonous, the truth is that life is always changing, be it ever so slightly. Things never stay the same for too long.
Change Is Constant
While the speed of change may be unique to our own age and time, the inevitability of change is not. In fact, the Bible has a whole poem about it in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 (which the Byrds made into a song in the 70’s which is super catchy and is hopefully stuck in your head now).
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Life is made up of rhythms. The good times follow bad ones. The bad times follow good ones. For good and for bad, things change. We have to learn to expect that.
Longing for Consistency in a World of Seasons
Ecclesiastes also tells us shortly after this poem that God has “put eternity in our hearts” (3:11). We long for things to be constant, to continue. However, we live in a constantly changing world. We long for constancy, but never find it. In this world, that’s probably a good thing, since some of our times are bad. However, we always long for things to be settled. This longing will never be satisfied this side of heaven.
This is an important thing for all of us to remember. We often think, “If only X,Y, or Z would happen, I would feel settled.” X, Y, and Z might even be something good like getting a good job or getting married or paying off debt.
It’s not bad to chase after those good things, but we should realize that nothing in this world is ever going to bring us the sense of settlement and consistency that we desire. Things will always change.
The Seasons of a Woman’s Life
I think this is especially true in the lives of women. I was having a conversation a few months ago with a woman who has pastored with her husband through many ages and stages of their lives. She shared with me and with some other young women how in each season of life, she’s had to re-evaluated what her role is.
Before they had kids, she was a co-worker with her husband. After they had kids, her role and position changed to be a full time mom, something she felt called to do. Now that their kids are almost grown, she senses her role changing again. She’s still trying to figure out what that looks like.
Each season has brought different joys, pains, trials, priorities, and tasks. Each season has also brought her back to the same questions. What is my role? What are the tasks that God has set before me? How can I best serve God right now, in this season?
The Blessing of Seasons
To me, this conversation is comforting. I used to have this idea that you went to college, you figured out what you wanted to do, and then you just did it for the rest of your life. The older I get, the more I realize that’s silly.
Very few of us do the same thing in the same way for our whole lives. That actually sounds really boring. God gives us different callings and tasks and commissions for each season. We would be wise to go out and discover those, not try to make every season fit into the same mold.
This idea of seasons gives us grace and flexibility. We can’t accomplish the same things when we’re in college as we can working full time. Life has different challenges for a mother of five kids under 5 than it does for a retired woman in her 50s. God doesn’t expect us to accomplish his plan in spite of the season he’s placed us in. He gives us unique tasks and missions to accomplish within each season of our lives.
God Uses Our Seasons
Don’t get discouraged if you think you aren’t “doing enough” right now or if life hasn’t turned out like you thought it would. I mean, if you’re just sitting on the couch eating bonbons all day and watching re-runs of Friends and Downton Abbey, you probably should be doing more, so get off your butt.
That’s usually not our problem though. I think most of us are beating ourselves up for not doing “enough” not because we’re not doing anything, but because we feel limited by the season we’re in. You want to volunteer more, but you’ve got little kids and it’s hard. You want to give more, but you’re in college and you’re barely making ends meet as it is.
Don’t try to force your season to fit what you think God’s plans for you are in the future. Realize that God’s plans are meant to fit your season. That doesn’t mean that it will always be easy or comfortable to accomplish God’s plans. If it were easy, we wouldn’t need God. It does mean that God recognizes the limits that you have in each season. In fact, He put those limits there for a reason and He wants you to recognize them and embrace them.
Don’t wear yourself out trying to “do” things for God. Look at your season of life and try to figure out what God wants you to “be” right now, in this very season. Each season brings its own pains and joys and lessons. So enjoy each one for, as the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us over and over again, each one is only temporary.
What season are you currently in? What is God trying to teach you through this season? Share in the comments below.