Seasons 

Ecclesiastes 3: A Time for Everything 

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

I’ve been thinking loads lately about seasons. I’ve had this blog on my heart for a while, but perhaps with today’s #Brexit it’s been more on my mind as we enter into a new season as a country.

What is your favourite season?

Personally I like elements of them all. I love the promise of Spring with new flowers. I love Summer with the longer days. I love the fall colours and Autumn days as we head towards winter. And I adore Winter for the log fires and of course Christmas. But there’s also elements of them all that are hard and unappealing. Spring is so far from the next Christmas. Summer- hayfever and bees – need I say more. Autumn can be horrible weather and long days. Winter = being cold and catching colds. 

As the verses above say there is a season for everything. But if I had to choose I’d choose winter because even though it’s full of sickness it also has Christmas, which means 2 precious weeks with family. A hard season but a sub text of love and happiness.

These verses are often read at funerals to remind us that everything including human life is seasonal. Everything comes and goes. There’s a season for everything. But is that really reassuring when you are in the hard dark seasons of life? When it’s the times we’re dying, uprooting, killing, tearing down, weeping, mourning, giving up, throwing away, in silence, hating or at war, does it really make you feel better that it’s perhaps only a season, with a new one round the corner? For me, as with the seasons this is often changing. I find comfort in knowing that better times are to come and that I’ve had much worse seasons behind me. But it’s also worrying sometimes that the hard season could be long lasting, one another harder one ahead of me.

Look at your ‘frequently used’ emojis. What are they? Do they reflect your whole life? Just the last year? Or just a few weeks or seasons? Mine are so random. Lots of smileys and animals and the queen. And the sick face. But also a Lemon and a bee because for the last 2 days I’ve had Lemonade on repeat. My ‘frequently used’ phrase today would be Brexit but that’s certainly not the word that would sum up my year so far. I use the word lol all the time in text and tweets but I’m not always actually laughing out loud- not as much as I would want anyway.

This perhaps is more a sign of living authentically via social media but it also shows that what is true or takes precedent in one season, is not necessarily defining of me or my life as a whole.

Every January I end up blogging about my resolutions or goals. The past couple of years I’ve had certain words that are key for my in this season. This year I’m speaking the word ‘Revival’ over myself as it’s a word I need to see in my life. But even half way through this year I don’t feel I’m in a season of Revival and may not be for a few years.

Life is seasonal but even within the space of a week or 2 we can see Spring Summer Autumn and Winter.

I’ve had seasons in my life (particularly earlier years) that were really really hard. Times of weeping and mourning and giving up. At the moment I’m in a season of ill health and the trials that come with that. But I’ve also had beautiful seasons of grace, abundance, love, restoration and hope. And I know that those times could be ahead.

I see seasons around me of real pain for others. Seasons of war for our nations, fighting and killing. Seasons of fear and terrorism and pain. But I’ve also witnessed in my life time seasons of change, overcoming, revolution, progress, and hope. History is a tapestry of seasons. And I also know that ultimately in the future there will be no more tears…

For me it’s much more comforting to rest in and rely on the unchanging Lord. Today a lot of my friends have been posting Bible verses reminding us of God’s security, consistency. We have built our houses on the solid rock not the sand; which in times of trial or uncertainty is something to dwell on. Perhaps instead of worrying about the seasons; focusing on the hard ones and praying for a new one, I should set my eyes on the One who created the seasons, the One who holds it all in His hands and who tells me there is a time for everything.

“I am God. I change not”. Mal 3:5

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#goals Speak Life Over Me; Revival

Even if my 2015 and all the years before were terrible and full of mistakes, I am still enough. I am still loved. I am still precious. I need to do away with the lies that tell me otherwise. I need to let go of fears that are holding me back. Funnily enough these are some of my ‘resolutions’ or #goals for 2016.

 

 Old, Alone, Fat, Ugly, Loser, Failure, Hopeless, Under-achiever, Broke, Un-Sexy, Talentless

Not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not Christian enough, not fit enough, not impacting enough, not whole enough, not worth enough.  Not enough.  Not enough.  Not enough

 

The world is quick to bombard us with messages that we need to ‘do better’ ‘look better’ and ‘be better’.

#squadgoals #lifegoals #relationshipgoals #eyebrowgoals #baegoals #hairgoals #goals #goals #goals

 

Each and every January gyms, dating websites, slimming worlds and travel agents, beauticians, clothes shops, language DVDs, and book sellers all cash in on this idea that we need to improve, to do better and to be better, each new year.

This notion in itself is not terrible and one I strive for when making my ‘resolutions’ each year.  I like the challenge and accountability of having things to strive for.  There’s something really great about wanting to better ourselves and push ourselves, but I just think that it shouldn’t be at the cost of dismissing all we have done before, or trashing ourselves for what we have not (or worse cannot) be or achieve.

I can never be someone I am not.  There are some things I am not capable of or called to do.  And that’s ok!

 

Even if my 2015 and all the years before were terrible and full of mistakes, I am still enough.  I am still loved.  I am still precious.  I need to do away with the lies that tell me otherwise.  I need to let go of fears that are holding me back.  Funnily enough these are some of my ‘resolutions’ or #goals for 2016.

 

I have this amazing 2016 planner by Horacio Printing and it begins with a ‘Bucket List’ (Dream, Listen, Plan, Pray).  Mine looks something like this:

  • REVIVAL; Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, Financial. Healthy and debt free. 

Whilst the last couple of years I believe God has spoken to me about Hope and Fortitude (overcoming) this year I really believe He is speaking life over me- Revival.  And I need to speak life over myself, not letting the ‘not good enough’ in. 

  • Rely more on Him, less on me. (Perhaps you can relate?  Can I get an Amen!)
  • Seeing the gifts in everything.
  • Develop my creativity and broaden my reading and mind.
  • Step further into my calling.
  • Travel
  • Invest in relationships!
  • Ethical purchasing.
  • Pray for world issues.
  • Love more freely. Forgive more often.
  • Seek freedom from the past.
  • Commit to a local Church
  • Blog and share my voice.
  • Journal and pray.

 

This amazing planner goes further than just a bucket list however, in setting goals, but also big dreams and refocusing for 2016.  Not just setting resolutions, but asking what are my passions and focuses, and what distractions are getting in the way?  This has been a game changer for me.

2015-12-16 23.06.33-1

 

It asks what do I need to let go of, who do I need to forgive and what fears are holding me back, at the start of each season.

What would you answer?  I found it liberating.

 

Rather than just a bucket list, goals, or resolutions on a tick list; what matters to you?  What do you want to see God change in your life?  What are you making more time for and what can you leave behind?  What word are you speaking over your life? Are you putting on pressure to live up to standards, or are you stepping into amazing plans and purposes?

 

I read a blog at the New Year from one of my favourite authors and activists Jamie Tworkowski who founded TWLOHA.  It is amazing and you should read it all but here’s a snippet (emphasis in bold mine)…

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people. Weddings and children and all your different dreams.
Love.
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?

Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.

 

 

Isn’t that beautiful?!  It had a # on Twitter #welcometomidnight and people shared what they were leaving behind in 2015 and hoped to find in 2016.

 

Reading the # made me weep as it was so uplifting.  ‘Midnight and we’re new’…

 

I want to leave behind fear, guilt and doubt.  I want to fight for justice and ‘move for the things that matter’.  That’s what it’s all about.

 

Now 2015 was filled with some incredible times, precious moments with family and friends, trips, amazing events, great books, milestones at work, crafts, fun.  But as with every year there was some heartbreak, some tough times, some lessons learnt, some days not to be repeated and some struggles to overcome.  But I want to leave some of those things in 2015, leave behind the lie I am not enough and let God speak life over me; revival.

#justicegoals #lovegoals #givinggoals #gratitudegoals #mercygoals #revivalgoals #Godgoals