I like to say that winter in Southwest Florida is like a California spring. The air is dry and cool in the morning and it warms up nicely in the afternoon. The sky is blue and flowers I haven’t seen all year that bloom. This winter is a bit wetter than the last few and a couple storms have blown through. Today, we are at the beginning of a “cold front” which means that at night it may dip down to the ’40s and days may be a chilly 60 degrees. Rough, I know. Especially for those of you who are dealing with snowstorms and below zero temperatures right now. I pray for you. The more challenging season of SW Florida is definitely the summer with our glorious 100-degree weather and 100 percent humidity.
Just as each season of the year brings with it it’s own unique challenges, wonder, grief, and gifts, so do the seasons of life.
A few years ago, a friend of mine encouraged me to make the most of my current season of life no matter what it was. She told me to not just endure it but embrace it. So when life changes fast and gets really busy, I ask myself the question, “Am I just surviving this season or thriving in it?”.
Through the years I have 5 Questions to help me figure out the answer:
1. What season are you in?
Not the season you wish you are in but the one you are actually in. What is the reality you are facing?
2. What are the limits of it?
Knowing your limits helps you thrive within them. God doesn’t take away our humanity or the limits of it. He honors them and He asks us to honor them. Boundaries help us learn how to be healthy in our bodies, our relationships, and our lives. My friend, you are not a superwoman who can do all things, all the time, for everyone. Do what you can, where you are with what you have. That is where God meets you and what God uses.
3. What is your focus?
Before I got married, I focused on going after God’s call on my life without the hindrance of marriage. After I got married, I focused on learning how to love my spouse and do the call of God with a fulltime life partner. When I had kids, I focused on getting enough sleep to not lose my mind – just kidding, sort of. When my boys were in elementary school, the focus of my season was about getting them prepared for where they needed to be and getting them there.
What I have learned is that if you don’t know what the main focus of your season is, you will be frustrated by whatever you “wish” you were doing instead. Knowing your focus helps you embrace the season and give yourself permission to enjoy it.
4. What is your priority?
Focus is a temporary seasonal reality, a priority is the most important thing in that season that you can’t afford to let slip. It is the thing that is the foundation of your life. For me, it is my relationship with God and my health. These are the two areas that I tend to let slip as I grapple with the challenges a new season brings. Because that happens to me, I must make them top priority through all my seasons.
5. What would make this season worth your while?
Only you can answer this question. For me, this can range from doing something small that will help me treasure the season to giving myself permission to feel all the emotions that come in it. After my dad passed away, I knew I needed to let grief be whatever it was going to be and make room in my life for it.
Big changes bring big challenges.
Jesus knows your journey and where you are on it.
You may be surprised, but He is not.
You may feel unprepared, He is not.
I want to encourage you to embrace the season before you.
Don’t hide behind your walls.
Don’t wait for something or someone to change.
Experience every moment.
Fearlessly use the gifts God has given you.
Make the most of it.
God has prepared good works for you to do today, tomorrow and in this very season.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Beloved, Jesus has not only prepared you for the path, but He has prepared the path for you.
What season are you in?
What is your focus?
What is your priority?
What would make this season worth your while?