Soul Seasons

Soul Seasons

As the weather finally changes here in central Florida, I have been reveling in the cooler temperatures.  Saturday night brought our first backyard fire of the season.  We’ve opened the windows and turned off the AC for days now.  Every morning, I sit on the back patio to drink my coffee.  As this change in weather has brought about changes in behavior, I am reminded of a book I read last year that I am still pondering all these months later.

Mark’s premise is so simple yet revolutionary at the same time: Just as our natural world has seasons which inspire/require different activities – so do our lives have varying seasons.  While I’ve been well aware of that reality, the part I never really thought about is the corresponding fact – those varying seasons require different activities and we can be intentional about making those adjustments. Yes, I’ve adapted my activities as seasons have changed in my life, but that was always a reactionary process, not a proactive one.  The idea that I could regularly assess my season and plan my activities accordingly was a novel one.

So according to Mark’s description, I am currently in a Fall season.  I have watched many aspects of my life wither away and die.  Yet, even in the midst of the “leaves falling”, there is beauty.  It has also been a time of final harvest, as I am reaping what I have sown in seasons past – for good and bad.  My activities at this point in time should be focused on “fall things”: reaping, storing, feasting and thanking.  Thus, I ponder what that looks like exactly for me.  I collect the harvest of my previous efforts – that means as blessings come to me (usually through the relationships I’ve invested in), I receive them instead of deflecting or minimizing.  Likewise, the consequences that unfold from the choices I made in previous seasons…I accept those as well instead of avoiding and excusing.  I store up the sense of closeness I have to God right now because I know that dark nights of the soul will come and I will need to remember this time.  I store up the blessings poured out for leaner times.  I store up the lessons learned from the consequences of my choices so that I can choose more wisely in the future.  I celebrate with gusto – all that God has done and been for me, taking time to count the tiniest of blessings.

Maybe you recognize the Fall season in your life too but perhaps your harvest is not at all pleasant.  Perhaps there simply is none or the fruit is bitter.  Mark addresses this as well with a few questions we can ask ourselves to get to the bottom of what is happening:

  • Who am I?  Am I living a life authentic to who God created me to be?
  • What is my purpose?  Am I living out my destiny?
  • What is my passion?  What makes me unique?  Am I living that out?

In the end, Fall is a time of assessment – reflecting on our planting and crop work to understand what worked well and what needs to be adjusted so that when Spring comes, we are ready with a plan that yields even better fruit than the cycle before.  Take some time to consider what season your life is in right now.  Get the book if you could use some help with that, especially with the business of focusing on the right tasks for your season.  Remember, counseling can be a wonderful tool for assistance in this process!

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