Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Seasons of Life

It’s currently autumn/winter season in the UK. It’s that time of the year when trees shed their leaves, the weather gets colder and it gets dark at 4pm. After a lovely summer period, I don't think autumn is  very nice. I love summer, I get to wear colourful clothes, go to the parks, eat ice cream, even people tend to smile more! But autumn? Nah, people are usually too cold to say hello or smile! It’s just too gloomy!

But I realised that no matter how much I hated autumn, it was not going to make any difference. It will stay for as long as it is supposed to stay. Summer too will not come any sooner, it will come when it is supposed to come. That made me learn to start appreciating autumn as opposed to hating it.

I started looking for the beauty in autumn: like enjoying the sight of golden brown leaves, and getting my son to play with them.  I also learnt to dress warmly so as to be able to take walks and even go to some parks. What changed? I learnt to adapt my life to this once dreaded season.

I think it’s the same with each of us. We will go through different seasons in life. Some of them will be great, others not so much. We can adapt our mindset so that regardless of the season we find ourselves in, especially the difficult ones, we can still have joy and peace.

I have learnt some really important lessons about dealing with unpleasant seasons. These are some of them:
  • Have you tried your best? Like I said in the preceding paragraphs, I wear warmer clothes during autumn and winter months in order to cope with the cold. It would be crazy to wear summer clothes at this time. Same thing with seasons in life. Have you tried to manage your situation as best as you can? If you re unemployed, have you really been looking for jobs and improving your chances by preparing well? If you are yet to have a baby, have you tried medical assistance? Have you also considered adoption? If you are single, have you been putting people off by your behaviour? Is there a way you could make changes without compromising your values?
  • If you seem to have done as much as is humanly possible, perhaps you could view this season as a period where God is developing your character. I think God cares more about our character than our circumstances. He loves us too much to leave us the way we are. And so sometimes we experience these difficult seasons to enable us learn some wonderful lessons like patience, humility, kindness and a deeper trust in God. As much as God would like to promote us to a better season, He will not give us something we are unprepared for. Imagine a parent giving a 5 year old child the keys to a car. That would be irresponsible! For that child to start driving, he/she would need to grow older and endure the discipline of a driving school/test before being allowed to handle a car. God may just be preparing you for the promotion He has in mind for you. You will need to 'grow up' and pass your test first though.
  • During summer, the trees usually have green leaves with beautiful flowers. In the autumn season, these leaves turn brown and fall off. But they are beautiful nonetheless in their golden brownness! Even the ‘naked’ look of winter trees
    have a haunting beauty to them too! Choose to see the beauty in your season by having a new perspective. Make this season work out to your advantage. If you are single, enjoy this period of ‘freedom’ where you get to do things you like without worrying about another person’s opinion. If you are still hoping to have a child, you can get busy looking after other people’s children while their parents take a well deserved day off. Or you could volunteer at a local orphanage, mentoring these kids, who often are ignored by most people. 
    If you are looking for a job, you could use this period to volunteer at an organization, or learn new skills. Life doesn’t happen when we get to a destination, life is the everyday choices we make. Choose to enjoy everyday you have, it’s a present.
  • Above all remember that God is always with you even in the tough seasons of life. You may not see it or feel it, you have to believe it because it is true. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He said we are inscribed on the palms of His hands! That even though a nursing mother might abandon her baby (which is rare), He will never do that (Isaiah 49:15-16). God is never faraway, we can hold onto His hands as we go through seasons of autumn and winter, knowing that His grace is more than sufficient. Amen.

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