The Power of Seasons
It’s that time of year again. The days are gradually getting colder and shorter, and winter has officially just begun.
Currently living in Jamaica, my experience of seasons is completely discombobulated. It’s mid-December but the temperatures continue to hit 30 celsius daily. The sun rises and sets at the same time nearly every day. The seasons still exist here, but the changes are nominal.
I realize this is a poor way to gain sympathy from Canadians in December – I can assure you, that is not my goal. While there is much to be grateful for here, I have to admit, I’ve missed the usual indicators of seasonal change that we take for granted in Canada.
Seasons are a glorious opportunity to reflect, give thanks, and refocus. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, I worry that we squander these great opportunities we are given several times each year.
A few years ago I was speaking on this topic to a group of young adults at a camp. Most of them had given up their summer to help hundreds of children encounter God, something that I find highly commendable.
I did a Q&A after my talk and one young woman said she didn’t understand how to set her priorities. So I asked, “What season are you in?”
She was totally blank. Had no idea.
“Okay, well has God spoken anything to you about this season? Have you noticed any recurring themes or topics coming up? Is there a particular area you are focused on right now?” I continued.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, “Well one of my main goals over the summer is to grow in my relationship with God. University life has been really hard on me spiritually and I want to go into next semester on a strong foundation.”
“That’s great! So what have you been doing to invest in your relationship with God?”
Another blank stare. “I haven’t done anything. I’ve made the kids my priority and then any free time I have is usually spent with my peers.”
“Any idea how you could alter your routines to better match your priorities in this season?”
“Well, I could get up a bit earlier in the mornings to spend time with Him. I always find this so invigorating, but I have a hard time waking early. I’ve also wanted to study a few books of the Bible. I could dedicate an evening every week toward that.”
By the end of this conversation she sounded a lot more optimistic. And while she was a young woman still finding her way in life, her experience is one that we can all relate to.
Let the change in physical seasons serve as a reminder that you are in a spiritual season as well. With each season comes a unique set of priorities, and the only way you graduate from a spiritual season is by diligently and consistently driving your resources towards them.
For me personally, this is a season of taking risks. This has included vocational risks, financial risks, geographical risks, and yes I’ve even risked getting sunburnt by not applying sunscreen while enjoying the spectacular beaches of Jamaica (had to get one last punch in).
While taking risk is scary, knowing the season has allowed my wife and I to stay calm amidst major changes and decisions. It’s also allowed us to embrace these fear-inducing opportunities head-on rather than procrastinating and missing out on what God has for us right now.
This is the value of knowing your season and setting the priorities. The more clearly you can name the season and identify its priorities, the more meaning and purpose you will find in the months ahead.