The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that life is all about seasons. I think that the first time I really became aware of this idea was in Sunday School as a teen when reading in Ecclesiastes:
"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
I'm sure that I only thought about this on a surface level in those days. I know that as a young adult I didn't really believe it. My belief looked more like "Today always has to be more than yesterday." It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that sometimes I can let go of today being more than yesterday and that it doesn't mean failure and that it doesn't mean I'm not growing and becoming better... it is just a season and just like the seasons, a period of explosive growth will come again in its time.
I'm not sure where the idea came from originally, but for years and years I though that growth had to be a steady upward climb and that anything deviating from that plan was failure. As a young mom, I experienced major burnout by trying to find success in this shape. I am learning every day to trust my personal seasons... to trust that I am recognizing them and to trust that seasons I can feel slipping away will return.
As a society we tend to focus on the summer stage of EVERYTHING. We believe that we should be constantly involved in a project and things should always be building and growing. And when we inevitably can't keep up with this model, we believe that we have failed. But imagine with me for a minute a never ending summer... Imagine how brilliant and wonderful summer is in the beginning and then imagine what would happen as things keep growing. Imagine the heat building and the grass burning up and all the things that could follow after that. When we think about what would happen if fall never came, if things were never harvested, if the temperatures never cooled, it is no wonder so many people are feeling burned out from expecting and trying to create a life of endless summer.
Have you ever thought about life in seasons? How does it change your beliefs about your efforts and expectations? Does it give you a moment to breath to consider that rest is a normal part of life and that you don't have to be going and growing all the time?
I have a lot to about this, so watch for a part 2 in the coming weeks.