As we settle into these Summer days, I am once again reminded how our lives are very much like the seasons of the year. We grow and change from one season to the next; sometimes hibernating in the cold months, waiting to metamorphosis out of a cocoon-like state that we have long been in.
It had been that way for me for most of winter. Not enjoying the colder months, I had hunkered down in my house waiting for better days; both in the natural and in my spiritual journey with God.
When the weather doesn't seem to change, I can become irritable and restless with the elements, and with what God seems to be doing, or not doing in my life. Now, my faith knows that He is always working, but it’s the process of getting my natural eyes off of what I think I want or need, and learning once again to look deeper into the spiritual movements that are all around me that God is trying to show me, which will strengthen my trust and transform my thinking.
Just the other day, I went for a walk and I couldn't help but to be captured by the beauty of nature. Not wanting to forget God in the moment, I quickly pulled out my iPhone and took pictures. It helped me to remember that God is near, and that he gives great attention to detail to all His creation - even me.
And yet, today, I am surrounded by mundane tasks that need to get done; but where’s the beauty in that?
Finding myself somewhat frustrated by not fully being able to see the plans God has for me, wondering what is to become of the calling that he has placed deep inside of me, all I can do is choose to surrender my limited understanding of what I think I know in exchange for His unchanging love and protection over me.
It is a choice I must learn to make in every moment, learning to ask him: Lord, what is it that You want to teach me in this season that I can’t learn in any other season? How do You want to reveal more of who You are to me today like never before?
So I have learned some practices that help me keep my eyes on God and not my circumstances. It isn't about checking off daily spiritual “to-do’s,” but to find a rhythm with God as I have journeyed through life. I don’t do these things perfectly, or even consistently, which has helped me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies, and live under the grace and love of God more and growing in a true relationship with him that looks different all the time as it matures and grows.
As I have been enjoying walks, I always make sure I have worship music playing that draws me into the heart of God. Whether I am on a city side walk or taking in the beauty of nature in a park, worship music keeps me focused on the things of heaven and how God is moving all around me.
I enjoy nature, but I also well-up in gratitude for a healthy body that can move and breathe. I also try and keep worship music on in my car and in my home while I am getting things done. Even if I can’t fully engage in the songs, just knowing it’s playing, keeps my focus on God and changes the atmosphere around me.
Sometimes in the everyday things of life, it is just learning to choose heavenly things instead of earthly things. As I sit at a stop light or am stuck in traffic, instead of getting frustrated, I train myself to again be grateful for things like a car, or to look up at the sky and see the vastness of His creation and taking in the greatness and wonder of God. This usually helps me regain a sense of trust and security in Him in that moment, because I begin to remember that nothing is impossible for the creator of the universe.
Also, I have taken to reminding myself of scriptures that speak to me and allowing those to minister to me.
Again, I don’t have a system per se; I have just learned in different seasons to ask God to bring things to mind. Sometimes, He shows me a scripture promise, and other times it is just a revelation where He shows me His hand in it all.
Being able to look back at scriptures in different seasons has helped me to remember that God is working in this season also.
Here are a few scriptures that continue to speak to me in every season are:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
I love the NASB version of this verse that, rather than “be still” advises to “cease striving.” Oh what a relief that is; to learn to rest in God in every season, in every task, in everyday things!
Even writing this piece, I have had to learn to let go of my perfectionism and let God guide the process with what and how to say the things He is teaching me. It is a process and a journey that will look different for all of us, but in every season God is with us and He will get us to where we need to go. We simply need to learn to relax and trust that, just as the seasons change and are being transformed into new things, He is doing the same in us, for He makes all things new.