So you’ve hit rough times? Me. Too. But this is just a season. And there’s a bigger picture, if you’re willing to look for it. So whatever season you’re in, and whatever you find yourself doing to get through it, you can turn this season into something powerful. Let’s rock this season.
Do you have dreams? Promises in your life that have yet to be fulfilled? Deep desires to be part of something bigger?
I used to have this idea that some time…in the distant future…I would somehow reach this culmination of all things important in my life. That someday, I would be doing exactly what I’m called to do, using all my gifts, walking in all my dreams…that people would love and appreciate me, I’d be well-rested and take fabulous vacations, and most of all, that my coffee would never get cold before I had a chance to drink it.
Then one day…as I was staring at a mound of laundry the size of Mt. Vesuvius, I suddenly realized something. I could miss my whole life waiting for that point.
And what if life doesn’t work that way? What if God doesn’t work that way?
The more I have come to understand how God works, the more I have discovered that life isn’t about building up to some culminating point of perfection.
Instead, it’s all about seasons.
Searching for Treasure
Each season of our lives is filled with treasures, if we’re willing to search them out. Each season has some degree of pain or hardship or obstacles…that we are invited to respond to. Each season has opportunities to grow and become a better version of ourselves. Each season has something to offer us, if we let it.
But how we approach each season of our lives has the opportunity to make us or break us.
It’s easy to focus on the rough times and blame our season for why we’re not fulfilling our calling. “Well, when I get past this season, THEN I’ll focus on what’s important. THEN I’ll make progress on what I’m called to do. THEN I’ll finally be who I was created to be.”
What we miss is that how we respond to the season we’re in will deeply impact the next season. And the season you’re in right now, no matter how good, bad or ugly, is offering you the gift of growth and fruit. How will you respond?
Check Out These 3 Strategies to ROCK YOUR SEASON
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1. KNOW YOUR SEASON
This is all about priorities. Your biggest task in knowing your season is to determine what’s really important and make time to focus on that.
Author Ryan Holiday said, “This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.”
There will ALWAYS be more to do than you have time for. And if you wait until everything is checked off your list to get to what matters most, you’ll never get there.
FIGURING IT OUT
Start by asking yourself what type of season this is.
Imagine a farmer. He starts by dreaming…planning what to do with the empty field before him. Then he moves to the breaking up of the soil…the preparation. Next, he begins to plant. He sows the seed, investing his time, energy and sweat into what he’s doing.
Then, he waters and waits. He gently tends the dream as he patiently hopes and prays that something is happening under that soil. Finally, he harvests. The fruit of his labor is, at last, visible to both him and everyone around him. He can eat the fruit of the other 4 seasons and share it with multitudes of people.
Lots of times, we look towards that harvest season of our lives and think that, if we’re not there, something must be wrong with us. Or we must be in the wrong place.
The truth is, if the farmer had skipped any of those other 4 seasons, he would have missed out on the whole harvest. As long, difficult, and even painful those other seasons were, they were just as important in the harvest as the harvest itself.
WHAT SEASON ARE YOU IN?
- Dreaming & Planning for the future
- Walking through the pain and brokenness of soil being tilled and turned and softened
- Serving and giving tirelessly, even though the fruit seems small or non-existent
- Waiting and tending, hoping that what you’ve planted will sprout but not yet seeing it
- Harvesting the fruit of what you’ve planted, although even harvesting takes work
Or maybe a combination?
KNOW WHAT IT’S NOT
Just as important as knowing what season you’re in, is knowing what it’s not.
The best thing you can do, once you identify your season, is to… 1. set your priorities. 2. Decide what to be bad at
What are the most important things for you to focus on in this season? Identify your top 3 priorities in this season and make those your non-negotiables. [Want some strategies for accomplishing your goals? Read How to Rock Your Goals: 8 Tips for Success.]
SET YOUR PRIORITIES
You. Can’t. Do. All. The. Things. But if you don’t decide what you’re NOT going to do, others will decide for you.
Danny Silk, in his book Keep Your Love On, calls it “managing your yes.” Oftentimes we focus on having to say “no” to people, because most of us really hate to say no. But every time we say YES to someone or something, we are automatically saying no to something else. And the things that fall by the wayside are frequently our marriage, our family time, our self-care, our relationship with God, and all the things that actually matter most.
The next time someone asks you to do something, don’t just say yes. Ask yourself, “If I say yes to this, what will I be saying no to by default?” And choose to say NO more frequently in order to free up your YES for what’s most important.
WHAT IF BALANCE ISN’T ACTUALLY THE GOAL?
Alain de Botton says, “There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
It’s so true!! Do you have kids? Are you married? Have you ever started a business? Moved? Changed jobs? Started a ministry? All these wonderful things unbalance your life.
Balance is not the goal, progress is.
Stop asking yourself, “Am I getting it all done?” and start asking yourself, “Am I making progress on what’s truly important…what I am called to do in this season?”
2. EMBRACE YOUR SEASON
You have the choice to embrace the season you’re in or resent it. When you choose to embrace your season, you can turn even the most difficult, challenging situations into something beautiful. But when you choose to resent the season you’re in, you will most likely end up resenting people you love, yourself, or God.
DO YOU HAVE A JOB OR A CALLING?
I heard the analogy once, that there are 3 ways to look at what you’re doing:
(EXAMPLE: 3 Persons laying bricks, each views it differently)
- JOB: Laying Bricks
- CAREER: Building a Church
- CALLING: Building the house of God
Your perspective is the difference between a job and a calling.
Jobs are not inherently callings. You can be a pastor or a doctor or run a non-profit and it’s just a job. You can be a janitor and it’s a calling.
FINDING YOUR PURPOSE
It’s all about finding the higher purpose in what you’re doing.
My kids were sick recently and, quite honestly, my job was awful. The details of my “job,” included lots of cleaning gross things, sleep deprivation, high demands and little thanks. Did I mention no pay?
But as I looked down at the sleeping faces of these tiny humans, was I thinking about quitting because of the job demands? No, instead I found myself overcome with a feeling of honor. Because I know that this is part of my calling. I am raising world-changers. And I have been entrusted with their care even in their most vulnerable moments.
What are you called to do in this season? Are you looking at it as a job or a calling?
Whether you’re raising young kids or caring for elderly parents, working a job that stresses you out or waiting for the right person to come along, you have the power to shape your mindset.
Each season, no matter how glamorous or UN-glamorous it may be, has eternal significance. And how you respond to your current season is setting you up for the next. The season you’re in right now is just as important as your most fulfilling season.
Embrace the season you’re in and find the deeper meaning…your calling…in the midst of it.
3. GROW THROUGH YOUR SEASON
It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being present.
We tend to be SO hard on ourselves. There’s this myth out there that we can have and do and be everything all at once. But guess what? We can’t. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can invest in what’s actually important.
Benjamin Hardy says, “There is a huge emphasis these days on HUSTLING! However, productivity is not about doing a lot of things, but rather about making tangible progress. Progress is made by making the right moves at the right times. It’s about learning from your mistakes and making better decisions.”
GETTING THROUGH ROUGH TIMES
What’s holding you back in this season? Is it fear or anxiety? Is it depression or hopelessness? Is it self-doubt or past hurts? Is it finances? Is it resentment for where you’re at or the people who have let you down?
Every season we walk through involves some degree of pain or difficulty that we must face.
These are the rocks in your path.
Sometimes these rocks will try to absolutely crush you. Sometimes they just block you from moving forward.
But if you’re willing to face them, you can use them to build instead.
DITCH THE FEAR
Fear is a liar. And yet, it’s one of the most POWERFUL things that prevents us from doing what we feel called to do. It’s a HUGE boulder in our path and it’s got to go.
What’s the antidote to fear? Not courage. It’s love.
1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
Take a minute to ask yourself where fear is holding you back from walking through this season and embracing what you’ve been called to do.
Now ask yourself how you can use love as a weapon of mass destruction to obliterate that fear. Mother Teresa wasn’t big or strong when you looked at her. But her love was an unstoppable force that broke down walls and transformed lives wherever she went.
Where do you need to increase your love? Do you need to extend love and grace to yourself? Do you need to release and bless those people who told you that you’ll never amount to anything or that your dream is ridiculous?
Do you need to open your heart to the truth of who God is? That his overwhelming, unconditional, non-judgmental love for you was enough to send Jesus to the cross so you could be forgiven and washed clean?
WHAT ABOUT BROKENNESS?
Don’t despise the brokenness in your season. Don’t run from the hardship or the hurt. Grow through it.
There’s something powerful about our brokenness. It opens our eyes to see what’s truly important in life. It softens our hearts to what others are going through. And it emboldens us to stand up for what’s right, if we will let it.
Don’t run from your brokenness, embrace it. It is the tilling of the hard soil, making you ready to receive the seeds that will produce the most fruit in your life. It is just as important as your victories in shaping you and preparing you to walk in the fullness of what God has in store.
And oftentimes your brokenness will be the door to someone else’s healing.
Whatever this season looks like for you, remember that you have a choice how to respond in the midst of it. You were created to bear fruit. To be part of something bigger. You are called to a purpose in God that can break down walls and transform lives. Don’t miss your calling in this season, just because it doesn’t look like what you thought.
Know your season. Embrace it. Grow through it.
And see what happens.
P.S. If you’re wondering how to hash this out in your own life, be sure to grab your free Rock Your Season guide! It’ll walk you through how to know your season, embrace it and grow through it for yourself.
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