For most of us, it is pretty simple to recognize when seasons are changing. As I write, we are in mid-September and in Atlanta it presently still feels like summer at midday. The difference is how it feels in the mornings and evenings. Clearly it is cooler and the humidity is giving us a welcome change.
However, I am aware that the seasons in many areas do not have a great distinction. I was born and grew up in and around Savannah, Georgia and I have often jestingly stated that Savannah has two seasons, ‘warm and hot’. I’ve also been known to say that summertime in Savannah is a ‘3 shower day’. (You shower in the morning and evening, as a relief from the heat as well as the gnats.) Walking to your car at lunch or in the afternoon may require a middle-of-the-day shower for refreshment.
Life is a bit easier when we can recognize there is a time and season for all things. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. The part that may get a bit tricky is considering that life, itself, has seasons as well.
There are seasons in growing up. We are born completely dependent on someone to care for us. We learn to crawl, walk, run, dance, skate, jump etc. We grow into individuals who have the ability to coordinate our muscles, schedules and lives – all the while watching the seasons of the year and our lives change and grow and become something different and distinct.
Probably the most difficult part of assessing our life seasons is when they require us to accept change. Change is a perception issue. One perspective, such as the emergence of a butterfly from it’s cocoon is that change is good and necessary. Another perspective, such as having to leave a relationship, our home or a job for any reason other than by choice can be quite a harrowing experience.
As a life coach, I have conversations with numerous people and the most stressful aspect seems to be in trying to determine whether to continue holding on to something or someone, or if letting go is the best thing to do.
Often, it seems, letting go of something is the most difficult. Someone who is not content in their job or career may be reluctant to let go, or consider pursuing other opportunities before letting go, out of fear of change. It is almost as though the discontent in the situation seems harmless compared to what might be on the horizon if change is to be considered.
The same is true for relationships that have cycled around the seasons and have not really changed into a new and better season. Perhaps it is a friendship where one does the bulk of the leg work to stay connected. Or it could be concern over a dating relationship where there seems to be no move toward a commitment that could lead somewhere.
It may be that you have supported someone who has needed to get help with addictions and they do not seem ready or able to commit to the work that will change their lives and set them free from the bondage they face day in and day out. It may be that an adult family member refuses to take responsibility for their lives and there is a continual temptation to help (enable) them. The commonality in each of these situations is that they require a continual hope for change.
The defining moment here is to determine whether that which we are hoping for actually seems to have the potential for becoming a reality. The best test for that is what has happened previously. If someone is continuing down the same or a similar path and they have not entered into a process for change, it is likely that the pattern will repeat itself, regardless of the promises they may make.
On the other hand, seeing someone actually “get it” can provide sufficient reason to hope when they begin to work within a framework of support to confront their issues. This may be a support group or with a coach or counselor who can provide accountability for them to complete the process.
There is a line between hope (the belief in or of a positive outcome in any given situation) that is real and hope that is false (the belief that things will turn out well although there is not sufficient evidence that anything has or will change).
It requires courage to face the reality to determine if what it is we are waiting for or hoping in actually has the potential to produce a positive outcome. It takes even greater courage to make a decision to let something end or cease that holds little ‘real’ hope for a positive outcome because there is, or has been, little or no effort made to change or grow.
Growth is a continual process in each of our lives. Sometimes we can stretch and grow in certain areas due to our own initiative. Other times, we can fare better with the help of a group or coach or counselor who can step in and offer support.
If you are faced with any of these challenges, remember God created you ‘on purpose’ for His purposes. He is more than willing to walk you through the struggles you are facing or the ones you are supporting who are facing difficult seasons. We can simply ask Him and, then, be willing to step into or out of a season that is in need of change.
Many times I’ve heard people commenting on trying to determine God’s will and best for their lives. I believe much of it boils down to answering one question truthfully with ourselves (and Him). The question: “Is this (enter particulars) something God wants me to embrace at this point, or to relinquish?”
The answer that you give can make all the difference. And, how can you determine if you are being honest in your assessment? Great question! The answer that is truthful will be the one that will ultimately lead you to growth and peace. The other one will keep you cycling around with more questions than answers.
So remember, life is good when you can recognize the season you are in. Life is even better when you recognize that God will lead you to and through whatever season you need to face or let go of and the result is greater peace and a better understanding of Him and of You!
Thanks for reading!
Sheri Geyer is a Master Certified Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom