I just got out of a season, spiritually. It didn't last very long--maybe 3 or 4 weeks, about how long I've been out of school. It was a really difficult one to go through, though. It pushed me to my very limits. I was forced to lean on God's strength because I had none left of my own. What was that season?
The summer didn't start out lonely. It started off incredible. I was home, the weather was perfect, I was getting along beautifully with my family, I had just started a new job where I absolutely LOVED my coworkers and could really see some close relationships possibly resulting from working together, I had a million plans for the summer--I was gonna walk with God and go to coffee shops and get in the best shape of my life and meet my future husband (okay, so that last thing wasn't so much a "plan," but I really felt like it was about to happen).
And then a guy appeared in my life. I'm not 100% sure, but I have reason to suspect that that was what set it all off. I won't go too much into detail about him, but suffice it to say that he was wrong for me in multiple ways but I was so excited at the prospect that I didn't want to let it go. I knew I was going to have to push God aside if things worked out. Just a little bit.
God was having none of that crap.
I mean, surprise surprise, right?
He was going to make me realize that He is all I need, period, and He was not going to let me get in the way of Him making me realize that. One by one, God began to strip away the layers that I had chosen and wrapped myself in so carefully. It got to the point where He really, really was all I had. A little bit of pain came along with that, if we're being honest. On my way to work one day I knew I was going to be late and there was more traffic than usual. It hit me that I was about to walk into a building where I would be by myself for the most part for around five hours. I was already having an especially hard time that day, and it all just washed over me and I started to cry right there in the middle of traffic. By the time I got to work I had pretty much settled down and I was able to pretend I was fine for everyone.
I don't say any of this to complain. I'm grateful for every second of what I went through for reasons I'll tell you in a minute. I only tell you all of this to let you know that seasons are not always fun. Sometimes they bring a lot of pain.
You know when you get a shot in your arm at the doctor's office and it stings really bad for a second, and maybe you can feel a little pain for a day or two afterwards? It's painful. But that doesn't mean people stop getting them, because it's protecting them from greater pain later on. Seasons like what I went through are the same way.
Of course, if it even needs to be said, seasons are not always painful. In the last year or two alone I've gone through seasons of breaking off anxiety, of learning how to love God's word (all of it, not just the parts I'm comfortable with), of becoming confident in the power of worship, of learning how to love God's people better, of learning how to evangelize (you can definitely expect a post on evangelism later on, and if that makes you want to groan, you are my target audience), of learning how to be pure in my thought life, the list goes on.
Taking Hold of Seasons
We need to not only be grudgingly accepting of the seasons God walks us through, we need to embrace them. I wholeheartedly believe that whoever you are, sitting in front of your computer screen or looking down at your phone--whoever you are, you are going through a season right now. If you don't know what it is, I would invite you to stop reading and take a moment to ask God what it is. Usually it will come to you without much difficulty because it's the thing you've been struggling with or excited about for a little bit of time now.
Seasons are not scary. They are a part of life. Just like summer, winter, fall, and spring, some are more enjoyable than others (*ahem* summer >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>winter), and all come with complications but are amazing in their own way. As much as I hate winter, I don't much like the prospect of sitting in front of a roaring fire wearing a snuggie and holding a mug of hot chocolate in the dead of summer.
So why am I so thankful for that season of loneliness? Well, I have never felt more full. Me and God spent a whole lot of time together. I was inspired to make this a blog all about what God is doing in my life because He is really dynamic in it these days. I heard Him speak really powerfully over me about things like why jealousy is stupid (I might write about that later too), why money is never going to get me anywhere, and the power of repentance. I started going through a Bible study with my mom. I learned what it means to take up my cross daily and follow Him. Being alone at a really laidback job gave me time to read Not a Fan (which I'm going to start recommending to everyone on the planet) and even listen to worship music every now and then. I learned how to be generous with the smaller-amount-of-money-than-expected that I've made so far instead of hoarding it, which I think I would have done if I had made much more. And I have DEFINITELY learned the value of living a healthy lifestyle. It's so much better, you guys. And I don't even feel like it's necessary to say, but my quiet times are off the charts these days.
I don't know what the results of your current season are going to be, and you may not either, but you need to start thanking God for it. Even if the thought of doing so makes you want to wallow in self-pity.
Not that I would know. Because He knows what He's doing, and He's gonna shock you with the outcome. THEN you're going to want to thank Him. So, you know, you might as well start now.
Thanks for reading this extremely long, mostly self-centered post. I'll leave you with Philippians 3:13b-14:
But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly all of God in Christ Jesus.
Until next time,