February 8, 2017
“Is it still winter?” my little guy asked. While the answer was, “Yes,” the confusion swirling around the question was understandable. After all, the sun was beaming down, raising the temperature to almost 70, enabling him to run around outside in a t-shirt and sandals with no socks. And his day in kindergarten had certainly encountered the month of February on the calendar. Didn’t feel like February. Didn’t feel like winter. Yet it was.
Not long ago, he was donning snow boots and gloves. We had enough snow to sled, build a snowman, and gobble up some snow cream.
The leaves of this bush were weighed down with the white stuff.
Now here it stands looking like a spring queen. A case of seasonal identity crisis.
Recently in a ladies’ Bible study, attendees were asked to write down what season of life we were in. Now that is a good question.
“Young married?” No, we’ve almost reached 18 years and we’re both starting to gray.
“Young family?” Tough one. I have a kindergartener but will also have a teenager within a few days.
Okay, cross “young” anything off the list.
“Retired?” Mentally, at times. In reality, way off.
So I settled on somewhere in the middle. A kind of in-between season.
In fact, I’ve known for several months that I’m in a bit of a resting season. Busy? Yes. I’m a taxi driver, top grocery purchaser, chief washing machine operator, and head chef among other things. Even though it often doesn’t outwardly look or feel restful, that’s where I am right now.
So often our lives are defined by the season we’re in. For many, the stage of family determines our season. Pregnancy and empty nesters and every phase in between keep us stretched. Career status, whether starting a new one or exiting an old one, can shape us. Our roles in ministry ebb and flow through the years. There are times when we seem to be involved in each opportunity that arises and other times when we aren’t as committed.
Then there are those stages we want to wish away. When the baby doesn’t sleep through the night. Or when there’s too much month at the end of the paycheck. Or when every line on our planners are taken.
But there are seasons when major family, career, or ministry changes aren’t present. Life has settled into a rhythm, an in-between season.
Are you in this season? At times, it may feel like wasted time. It’s not. You may wonder if you’re accomplishing anything during a down time. Here are three strategies to keep in mind…and keep you motivated while you rest.
Soak up the Word
While reading God’s Word is essential for any phase of life, there are seasons when we have more actual time to sit, read, and study. Often it’s during these times that we are nourished from the exhaustion of a previous stage or reenergized for what lies ahead. Time in the Word is never wasted time. Delve into personal study, beginning each day with a prayer for a hunger for God’s Word. Get involved in group Bible studies as well. Personal connections made during corporate study often grow some of the deepest roots. ("All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Be Reflective and Thankful
Quiet time gives fresh opportunities to reflect on where we’ve been, experiences that have grown us, and an overall spirit of thanksgiving. I’ve discovered more than a few times recently when my eyes have welled with tears as I’ve watched my boys. This restful season has allowed me to be more reflective on the blessings I already have. I’m not consumed with hurrying to the next step; I’m thankful to be in the present moment. Count your blessings. Thank God for His goodness. ("Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 118: 1)
So often we spend our lives waiting for the next thing or striving to get to another step. A season of rest is a time to do exactly the opposite. It’s not neglecting goals or falling out of all activity, but stopping and finding satisfaction in the moment. Take advantage of some down time to rest in the contentment found in Jesus. ("A heart at peace gives life to the body..." Proverbs 14:30)
Seasons come and go. One of rest isn’t likely to hang around for long. Make an effort to enjoy while it lasts. Rest in knowing that while life may seem dormant for a while, another season will soon be in bloom.