The leaves are starting to turn, and another season is upon us.
We are blessed in Chico to have four distinct seasons in our weather. As each season sneaks up and makes itself known we either celebrate or feel sad. After a long wet winter and spring, the warmth of the first summer days are exhilarating. When the weather finally cools at night so you can sleep with the windows open and under a big comforter you are relieved. The smell of a spring rain or red and yellow leaves in the autumn make me feel alive.
Seasons of life can be the same way, bringing excitement and relief, or uncertainty and feelings of loss. There are moments at graduations, promotions, physically moving to a new location, the first day of a new job, or the last day of school that signal the change of a season in life. Other times a new season will start without us knowing it and we wake up and wonder why today is so different than last week or last month.
As we pray with our daughter Katherine as she waits to hear back about whether she will get the job she has been dreaming about – we realize that if she gets the job and moves away a new season will start for our whole family. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We want to be people who pray and contend for the things we believe the Lord wants to do in our lives. Until the Lord closes the door on this opportunity and changes our hearts about it, we are going to keep praying specifically for God to come through in this way. When it does happen, we will know that it was the Lord’s goodness to her, not simply her talent or a chance encounter. Our heavenly father is the one who gives us every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
What season is coming to a close in your life right now? What will you do to memorialize, celebrate, and have a “moment” of closure? When we realize a season is ending it is important to recognize it, give it words and describe it to someone else and thank God for his goodness in the midst of it. This might be as simple as a prayer with a close friend to acknowledge what’s happening, or a dinner for a group that officially celebrates or simply gives voice to what has taken place. It could mean planting a tree of remembrance or purchasing a piece of art that will help you reflect on what you have received in the past season.
Is there a new season that is starting in your life? Are you embarking on a new journey? If you sense that this is the case, you will need to begin to surround yourself with some different people than before. Recognizing the power of walking forward in community is critical, and finding the right travel buddies may mean the difference between a two-month trip to the Promised Land and a 40 year camping trip in the desert.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Solomon goes on to write that each season will have a variety of feelings (joy, sorrow, weeping, love, hate) and many things to do (plant, uproot, dance, embrace, keeping and throwing away). People will not always understand the season you are experiencing and they will try to control you and tell you how to feel and what to do. This is when you must guard your heart from picking up an offense and try to verbalize to them what season you believe you are beginning or ending.
For many of us this past season has been one of weeping and mourning. Our culture doesn’t feel very comfortable with mourning or grief, but if that’s where we are living we must embrace that season and get everything out of it we are supposed to receive before we move ahead. It also means learning to explain what’s deep within our hearts – and that’s not always easy to put into words.
Whatever the season we find ourselves in, the most important thing to remember is to let others into your process, and journey in a fellowship that will support and help you as you move ahead.
May God bless you with the ability to put the deep things in your heart into words so you can invite others into your current season.
-Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor