Last week ended with a lost wallet on an airport rental-car bus in Phoenix, and travel sickness at 3,000 feet somewhere over New Mexico. This week started with a dog bowl and entryway full of ants, and me breaking into the house because my keys were still inside after all of the doors had been locked. Then, while running late to work, I got stuck behind a tractor on a 15 mile, two-lane road, because, you know, why not? “That’s just how my week is going.” Every now and then there are moments like this week when things are just… off. It would usually make me an emotional wreck. This time, however, I couldn’t help but just shake my head and chuckle. Because, you see, in the midst of all of the chaos and stress, there were beautiful glimpses of God’s grace and an overwhelming level of peace that could not be ignored.
Before I entered the season I’m in now, I was in the biggest pruning season this world has ever seen. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but that’s truly what it felt like. God was stretching me like I had never been stretched before, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all. I was exhausted, uncomfortable, angry and totally and completely over it. It seemed to last way longer than I’m sure it was, but I prayed constantly to just be in a new, better season; to just be anywhere else but where I was. The only problem is that by only looking too far forward, I forgot to be fully present right where I was. How much did I miss? How much did I take for granted?
Now I’m in a new season, and while it is definitely way smoother than the last, I still have moments like this week; moments where things just can’t seem to go right. It’s in those moments that I can choose to be overwhelmed and upset, or I can choose to see God. Because even in a fruitful and fulfilling season there are hard and difficult times that God will use towards your development. We don’t grow when things are easy and simple. We grow when we are pushed out of our comfort zones, challenged in our thinking and actions, brought into new situations and lead on a journey that is far different from what we would have ever planned for ourselves.
It's easy for us to be in one season and wish we were in another. It’s even easier to not face the trials and pruning moments and just ask Him to move us right along to those bigger and better things, thank you very much! But what we can’t possibly see in that moment is the purpose behind everything the Lord is doing to prepare you for what He has waiting for you when you come out stronger and more prepared on the other end. If I had come into the season I’m in now when I thought I was ready, not when He said I was ready, I wouldn’t have made it very far. God uses each season we are in to meet us where we are and teach us valuable lessons that we wouldn’t learn otherwise, all the while preparing us for what is to come. Every season has it’s learning moments, and only now can I look back and see just how far I’ve come; only now can I see the purpose behind the pruning, and the lengths God went to for me.
I think sometimes we get caught up in the hard, frustrating and painful moments in the difficult seasons, and forget to stop and ask God what He is trying to teach us in those times. How often do we dig our heels into the ground and meet Him with resistance when the stretching and molding begins, simply because we don’t like being uncomfortable or inconvenienced? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a bad day, and not once looked at it as anything beyond just that – a bad day. But what if we looked at each one for what it was? What if, instead of chalking it up to “bad luck”, we stopped and asked God what we can take away from those situations and how we can use what we’ve learned to help and love others? I’m currently in a very fulfilling season, but there were still quite a few things that the Lord taught me through everything that happened this week. There are opportunities for growth and development at any point in any season – the waiting seasons, the dry seasons, the downright painful seasons, and yes, even the fruitful seasons. There are no promises that it will always be easy and painless, but God is always faithful.
Friends, don’t forget who you are now, the person you are in this season, because you keep looking ahead to the next. Don’t waste the season you’re in and ignore everything the Lord is trying to show and teach you by constantly wishing you were somewhere else. Embrace where you are, lean in to what God is doing in your life, acknowledge the areas He’s working in, and rest in the fact that, just as the seasons outside are changing and things are being made new, so are you.