Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Hindsight teaches wonderful lessons.
I’m coming to the end of a season. As usual I find myself reflecting on the season. Hoping that it will help somebody some day, I’m sharing some raw lessons learnt.
I have come to realise that life can often exist of two elements that are in tension with one another. Thankfulness and disappointment take the form of a yoyo, fighting for attention. Similar pairs exist: contentment and desire; trust and entitlement; humility and selfishness…
My season has been filled with grace, community, laughter, provision and goodness. Yet, there has also been loneliness, disappointment and stubbornness on my part. That is normal. We are human. Life, yes, does have some sad and mundane aspects. We can’t be winning gold or climbing a mountain every day. But, what I have learned, is that if we dwell on these and remember only the bad, or only the good, we become blind sighted.
In my case, I became grumpy and cynical (more on that one here).
As I sat down tonight to ask God to reveal the fruit he has been growing in this time, I picked up my journal and found so many wonderful lessons that have been woven into this season.
1. I am NOT my season:
My season has less friends but I am not friendless.
My season may be less outwardly exciting but I am still outgoing.
My season may be quiet but I am not unfulfilled.
My season may involve future-figuring but I am not the figure of my future – God is!
My season may be in architecture but I am not wholly for architecture.
2. True Vocation and Trust
“I was made for Jesus. I was made for heaven.”
When everything is stripped away, including our vocation, we have nothing left to do but to sit and wait. This is different to our known, organised waiting that always prepares ahead of time. It involves resting and listening to God quietly and gradually, loosing our agenda completely. True trust is to wait and not plan; not chasing the next option or even knocking on a door. I have learnt that what matters is the slow private life we live when no-one or nothing grabs our attention. I am loved and my gifts were made holy by Jesus. My gifts themselves are not my purpose or holiness, but the means by which God chooses to display my holiness. Each day is God’s day and plan. I will sit at his feet and dwell with him with nothing left to give other than my heart and my soul.
15 year old me dreamed of leaving home, heading to a beach town and spending time hanging out with Jesus. This was of course envisioned as an exotic adventure. 7 years later, a pandemic forces me home. One day I stubbornly headed to the beach for a walk in boredom and started listening to the bible on a podcast. Eureka! I am literally living my dream. God has graciously and unexpectedly (North Sea wild swimming style) answered that prayer. The lesson? May I never let my future or present desires take away the gratitude for what He has already done!
I am not a failure. I am not worthless. I am the prodigal daughter deemed worthy of celebration as I stumble back into the loving arms of my heavenely Father…
In haste as the world began to go back to normal, I found myself off in pursuit of adventure, friendship and pleasure. Yet, as is normal in this life, I faced disappointments. I ventured off for wild reunions and returned exhausted, realising that the adventures I’d chased just weren’t as good or fulfilling as I had imagined or remembered.
Yes, they were still joyful! But, by taking my control and rushing off, I had left behind the restful status of being God’s child. I had gone astray, forgetting to spend time with my creator.
I choose to return and surrender. I choose to stumble back to him with my negative mindset, tiredness and imperfection. I come, accused by the enemy who tells me I’m worthless and ungrateful. From a distance, God pulls me into an embrace, places a robe on me and calls for a celebration.
A New Season Awaits
God is faithful and I know the next season will continue to be full of lessons and joys! Yet, if anything, this season has taught me that I am not entitled to constant fun, happiness or ease. One day, heaven will be like that with no pain. But until then, I must acknowledge that what I have in Jesus is enough and I must learn to desire nothing more than to know him. Every time that I have fixated on all the dreams, pleasures and adventures that I desire, I have only found myself restless, disappointed and missing something. That something, I find in Jesus when I stop to thank him in the naturally unfolding goodness and devote my heart to him.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:26
Thanks for reading, I hope it teaches you something.
What lessons have you been learning in this season?