Thursday, October 1, 2015

For Every Time There is a Season

For me, the start of the school year marks the beginning of a new year more than January does.  This is largely due to the fact that the rhythms of our family and my professional life ebb and flow based on the school calendar. Since this is the case, each year as September comes around, I try to take a moment to pause, to mark new beginnings, reevaluate priorities, and give thanks for the year ahead. 

I also use this time to look back and reflect on the previous year.  When I do this, I am almost always amazed.  And most often, where we find ourselves as a family is different than what we might have pictured for ourselves at the onset.  For example, last year at this time we were getting settled into a new home.  It seemed absolutely perfect for our family and we could picture ourselves in it for years to come.  It felt as though we were right where we were supposed to be.

Then, fast forward to this year.  We’ve been having some great conversations about life lately and what my husband and I realized is that we needed to create more space in our lives to simplify, save, and breathe.

As part of that conversation, we decided the right thing for us to do was to sell our house, and so here we are, just a year later, putting our house on the market and looking to downsize to something smaller.
Even three months ago, this change was not something we saw coming.  But then life happened, and things changed, and here we are.  And what’s most interesting is that as we think about downsizing and the opportunities that will open up for our family, we feel we are right where we are supposed to be.  The same feeling we had a year ago, but a totally different scene.

Until recently, this was a hard thing to describe.  I didn’t really know how to explain it, but then I read something that hit the nail on the head.  “Everything is interim.”  I came across it in the book Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, and she used the phrase to describe how, when we are living and walking in relationship with God, every season is really just a preparation or a path to the next thing.  We never really arrive, because God is always growing us and working in and through us.

Sometimes, this reality can be challenging.  It’s not always easy not knowing what the next thing is or when it will come about.  That’s why living in relationship with God is called a life of faith.  I’d be the first one to admit that though I like a good dose of spontaneity and (good) surprises, I also like a sense of structure and prefer certainty over chaos.  Yet in my experience, the times when I have grown the most in my faith is when I have had to rely on God, not knowing how things would come together or what was around the bend.  In my opinion, this is not a coincidence.

Perhaps this is why Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my go-to Bible verses: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”  I need to regularly remind myself to abide in this verse and live according to it.  It’s probably something I’ll be working on my whole life. 

So I take comfort knowing that God is patient with me and knows my quirks.  I am also comforted knowing that God will show us the next steps when it is time to take them.  In the meantime, we’ll focus on the present and on taking one day at a time.

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