It’s mid-afternoon and as I walk along the path heading to my parent’s barn it’s hard not to notice the brown barren fields. Cows walk and graze, but the contrast between the lush, overflowing fields of grass just a few months ago is stark. The sky is gray. There is a chill in the air. In a few short months green will begin to sprout. The heat of the sun will be a daily thing. Life will return. In life, we will inevitably face seasons of change. The mindset we choose in our seasons of life are critical and influential in our quality of life. Because to everything there is a season.
To everything there is a season
We can step into life, hold our breath and hope that we will not face adversity or loss. Some will lose more than others. Heart ache will be more acute for some of us. But regardless of what part of the globe you may be reading this, you experience different seasons of life. As we prepare to enter a new year, sometimes we just need gentle reminders of encouragement for the path we are on or one we are about to take.
Seasons are temporary
There may have been a time that you had to shake off that feeling that the sweltering sun or frigid temps had no end in sight. There will be inevitable storms in life. It can be easy to lapse into a state of feeling stuck.
Three ways to weather the tempests, droughts and in between
Speak up, reach out and be supported. We can feel as if our grief, financial hardships or fragmented relationships will engulf us. It’s ok to remind ourselves that even when we feel alone, we aren’t, nor were we intended to be. Sending a text, picking up the phone or verbally asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Support makes us stronger. The seasons of hardship and challenge seems less lonely and pointless.
I’ve encouraged those who may not feel comfortable reaching out to someone in their inner circle, to seek counseling or reach out to the plethora of community or online support groups that are a consistent form of support. We may feel like hiding under the covers until the storm passes, I’ve personally been there, but time doesn’t stand still and hibernating can reinforce already existing emotions of isolation, depression and anxiety.
And number two is…
Stop being so hard on yourself. We mess up. Our past may be littered with stumbles and poor decision making. But we’re human. We cannot rewind our past, we can merely learn from it. When we feel engulfed in a season of struggle our minds can easily wander to all the missteps we’ve taken in life. We can be really hard on ourselves. We can have a mindset of learning and growing from our past or we can lapse into a sense of regret and incessant reflection. Stay away from being fixed on the past!
When we look ahead and refuse to allow the past to strengthen us, rather than define us, there is greater focus on positive and gratitude than regret. Our past is part of who we are. What we must remind ourselves is that we can grow from this rather than be consumed by it. This is a massively important spoke in the wheel of wellness.
Hands in the air because we need…
Self care! It’s common when in time of challenge and frustration to continue overextending ourselves. We may feel obligation or responsibility to do unto others through thick and thin. Focus on ‘me’ time can be associated with being selfish and something we eventually turn towards. Instead, self care must be a mandatory part of our day, week, month and year.
It is futile to pour from an empty cup. An empty cup is useless. When we are empty our ability to do anything effectively is tossed out the window. When a season of hurt, angst or loss approaches and our emotional cup is empty, we are more inclined to be tossed, turned and impacted in ways that we would not if our cup was full.
Fill your cup. Take time for prayer. Ask God for direction, peace and wisdom. There is crazy significance when we pause to submit our hurt and struggle to our creator. We were not intended to go at the storms of life alone and prayer is powerful stuff.
Allow opportunity to clear your mind. Give time to breath without constant noise. Enjoy yoga, jogging, a bike ride or pottery? Etch out time whenever you can for you. That may mean ten minutes a day or an hour a day. Meet you where you can meet you. But refill the heck out of your cup. Because guess what? You’re worth it.
To everything there is a season
As we begin a new year, may the next new year not be about resolutions. May the next year not be about a new you. Instead, may we focus on ways to be stronger, to grow and to do our best to be where we need to be regardless of what storm may come our way.
Wishing you a year of tremendous peace, love and goodness.