Seasons: The Rhythm of Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1,11
1For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.




I want to teach you a concept that, when understood, can help you find purpose, meaning, and understanding in your life. If you’re a student, the understanding of this concept can give you a grasp on your future and change the trajectory of your life. If you’re a single adult, you will have a precise focus, clarity and confidence when you un-package this concept. Young families will maximize precious time, couples will have less marital stress, grandparents will enjoy more life, and seniors will find renewed purpose when you understand this natural concept. I want to talk to you about the idea of life’s seasons. I don’t think that our lives are mapped out as a linear journey to an end; rather, God designed life to be experienced in natural rhythms of times and seasons. In fact, we see just 14 verses into the Bible that God blueprinted the concept of seasons into the design of the cosmos from the very beginning. So seasons are not a perspective on life; they are the very nature of life. Your life is happening in seasons, and if you fail to understand and recognize them, you will miss the purpose that God is accomplishing in them.




1. Seasons have a beginning and an end.

Both the beginning and the end of seasons are emotional. If you’ve just gotten a management promotion at work, the beginning of this new season of your life will be exciting. If you’ve just received a bad report from the doctor, the beginning of this new season will be difficult. Sometimes the ending of a good season is difficult, because if often means "goodbye.” Sometimes the ending of a bad season is worth a party, because it often means “finally!”




Let’s talk about the ending of seasons for a little bit. I’ve began to notice some trends lately, two to be exact. One we call “delayed adolescence” and the other “separation anxiety” - both of which are a failure to recognize the ending of a season. Delayed adolescence is when a young adult has yet to realize that a Bachelor’s degree is supposed to be completed in 4 years, mom and dad are not Wells Fargo, showers should be taken more than 3 times a week and room and board are not cheap. We’re seeing the ages of those who step out into the world to become self-sufficient increase every year. I know that the 30s are the new 20s and the 40s are the new 30s (although from what I’m seeing on social media it looks like some of you think that the 40s are the new teens), but the reason that 30s are the new 20s is because you’ve never recognized the ending of the 20s season in your life. NEWSFLASH: You’re 45 - lose the belly button ring!




Separation anxiety is a term often used with infants and young children between the ages of 3-months and 6-years-old. My oldest daughter, Andie has separation anxiety anytime she sees her mom leave without her. And most of the time we see it with young children, it’s kind of cute. But it we saw that trait continue through age 15 or 16, we would have to say, “It’s not cute anymore!” I often see husbands and wives leave their spouse and children to pursue a season that has already ended in their lives. They want to live a single lifestyle again where they can have fun and go out without the responsibility of having to take care of children and be tied down to a spouse. They have separation anxiety from a season in their lives that has already ended; and as I watch these things occur, I just want to shout, “It’s not cute anymore!”




But in both of these scenarios, delayed adolescence and separation anxiety, the perpetrators are unwilling to acknowledge the ending of a past season and failing to recognize the reality of their present season.

(Which brings me to my next point).




2. Seasons have a name and a purpose.

If you want to know the purpose of the season you’re in, you first have to discover it’s name.

Last year, I led a discipleship group for young men. They each had entry and exit interviews, where I would ask lots of questions to probe what season of life they were in so they could recognize and pursue spiritual growth in that season. After all but naming their season for them, I would ask them if they could name their season of life, and it was as if a light bulb went off in their head. Once they were able to discover the name of the season of life they were in, they were able to respond to the everyday situations of life through the understanding of that season. They knew what next step to take, because they understood where they were in life.

When you define the season of life you’re in, you’ll begin to see radical changes in the effectiveness and results of your life in this season. Why? Because when I recognize that the season of life I’m in is “Parenting Preschoolers,” I can be in this season to the fullest, knowing that I can be the best Preschool Parent in this season while it lasts. When you discover the season of life you’re in, determine to best the best at it!




Once you discover the name of your present season, you can begin to unveil the purpose. There’s one really important thing you need to know in order to see the purpose that God has for the season you’re in:

God’s purpose for the season you’re in is always about what He wants to do in someone else’s life.

This season of life isn’t primarily for your benefit, it’s for someone else’s. God may do something in your life through this season, but make no mistake about it:

God would always rather do something through you than to you.

So if you’re wanting to understand God’s purpose for this season in your life, look around you. See what He’s doing in the lives of others through this season in your life.




Esther

I was reading the story of Queen Esther to my daughter the other night, and as I read it, I couldn’t help but think of this principle when I came across Esther 4:14: "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this."

If you don’t know the story, here’s a condensed version. Esther was a Jew, who married a Medo-Persian King. Through the antagonistic plotting of a man named Haman, there was a decree that all the Jews would be massacred. Esther was the only hope for the Jews, and she was hesitant to address the King, because it could cost her her life. Her Uncle Mordecai encourages her with a motivating speech that ends with this famous citation: "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?"

What he was saying is, “Esther, what if saving the Jewish people is the purpose of this season in your life?” The end of the story is that Esther goes before the king and saves every Jew in the kingdom. You see, the purpose of this incredible season of life Esther was in was not about all of the royal things God was doing to her. It was about saving His people through her. And it was through her saving of the Jews that generations later would be born the Savior of the world.


Ecclesiastes 3:11a - Yet God has made everything beautiful in it’s time (season).

I studied this verse extensively in it’s original language, because I didn’t want to say what I’m about to say without it coming directly from the smallest stroke in the Word of God. This verse is jam-packed full of hope and purpose.


Solomon expresses in the previous verse that life is hard, burdensome, and heavy. What he’s saying is that life’s seasons can be extremely painful and hard, “Yet God has made everything beautiful in it’s time.” That word beautiful can also be translated “good.” Which tells me this:

If it’s not good, it’s not over.


I know that miscarriage has left you in emotional turmoil, and it’s not so good right now, but it’s not over.

I know that the death of your loved one has left you grief stricken, and this season isn’t good, but it’s not over.

I know he/she walked out on you and left you with more questions than answers, and this season is hard, but it’s not over.

I know you want to find someone to love just like all the other happy couples around you, and this season feels lonely, but it’s not over.

If it’s not good, it’s not over!


You may be here today, and your life is a mess - emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally - just a mess. This season that your in wasn’t the plan you had for this time in your life. You pictured fame, fortune, or at least happiness and peace of mind; but you’re struggling to pay the bills, and life just came at you so fast, and now you’re just plain tired and overwhelmed. This season wasn’t in your playbook. I know you thought you’d be accepted to all the schools you applied for, and I know you thought you’d have parents who were more understanding and friends who were more loyal. I know you thought that divorce couldn’t possibly hurt this much and cancer would steer clear of your life. You didn’t see this coming, and it’s hard to understand what purpose, if any, this season you’re in could have; yet God has made everything beautiful, good, in it’s time.


It’s already done; He’s already made it beautiful. Before you ever stepped foot into this mucky season of life that you’re in, He had already made it beautiful in it’s time! This grief may be painful, but it’s not going to kill you. This debt may be deep, but it’s not going to swallow you. This loneliness maybe dark, but it’s not going to take you. This addiction may be strong, but it’s not going to bind you. This condemnation may be loud, but it’s not going to have the last word. This depression may be heavy, but it’s not going to overcome you. This cancer may be relentless, but it’s not going to write your story. Your story has already been written, your lot has already been cast, your future has already been planned, your tomorrow is already in the books, your season has already been made, and God says that He has made it beautiful!

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