Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.
The other day I was talking to a girlfriend about how discouraged I was when it came to my productivity. I told her how the previous year I was able to accomplish so much more than I was currently and I just could not figure out why. This wise friend gently explained to me that my productivity had changed not because of anything that I did wrong but simply because I was in a completely different season in my life that would not allow it. I was then able to see that in that season I was trying to do more than I was actually called to do. I was then able to recognize the specific challenges of my current season and make necessary adjustments so I wouldn’t feel the need to be so hard on myself. This had a major positive impact on my marriage, parenting, and relationship with God.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (NLT) We’re all facing unique seasons in our lives and understanding what season we’re in has a significant bearing on our souls. So I now take time to process and assess where I am and how it’s affecting my relationship with others and God so that I can navigate that season accordingly. And in doing so I’ve discovered 4 major spiritual seasons that we all face at one time for another. I’m not saying this is a final and complete list but in my own observation and study of scripture, I’ve recognized we all either in a GROWING season, a PRUNING season, a WILDERNESS season or a HARVEST season. So let’s chat about each one.
The GROWING season is a season of change which brings its own unique challenges. You may be stretched to do things you've never done or go places you've never gone. God is stretching you because He wants to enlarge your capacity to handle what it is that He has next for you. The discomfort you feel in this season isn't because you're a failure, you're simply experiencing growing pain.
So don't shrink back. Try new things, take risks, and don't be afraid to fail. You may stumble as you navigate unfamiliar territory but God will not let you fall.
Psalm 37:23-24 tells us: "The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." (NIV)
God knows where you are and what difficulties this season can bring. So let go of doubt, keep growing, and trust Him.
In a pruning season, God is allowing test after test in your life because He is preparing you for something greater. He knows there are some attitudes, beliefs, and even people you need to let go of before you enter your next season.
This season may feel difficult and uncomfortable but allow it to complete its work in you. Like fire is used to mold gold; God is using these tests and trials to strip you of your old ways and shape you into the woman He's calling you to be.
1 Peter 1:7 tells us: "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." (NLT)
How do you pass these tests and make it through these trials in your pruning season? Keep the faith!
Wilderness seasons are times of lack, waiting, and even suffering. Seasons like this can be very lonely, especially if God appears to be silent. You're making it day-by-day but don't feel like you have enough. As you wait for God in this season, fight the urge to shut down, get angry, or run away. Resist the lies this season tells you. Cling to God's truth:
You are not alone.
This is not the end.
You are victorious in Christ.
It may not seem like it, but the wilderness season is where God is the closest to us, right beside us in dark and depressing times. Psalm 34:18 reminds us: "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." (ESV)
Now is the time to press into the presence of God and understand that as no season lasts forever, this too shall pass.
In a harvest season, you are reaping benefits from the seeds you've planted in previous seasons! This also means you're in a very busy season that demands much of your time, energy, and strength. As you may feel overwhelmed from time-to-time, it's important to remember how blessed you are and that it's time to be a good steward of what the Lord has given you.
If you're feeling discouraged and stressed take it one day at a time knowing that God has given you much because He trusts you with much. The temptation in harvest seasons is to get so caught up in our blessings that we forget to cling to God. It is so important not to become complacent in this season simply because things are going well. We still need to seek God like we would in any other season.
Then comment below and let me know which spiritual season you’re currently in. I’ve placed my current spiritual season in the comments already and I can’t wait to read yours.
If today’s post was helpful, share with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today.
For even more Beloved encouragement including Daily Devotionals, practical advice for everyday Christian living, Bible studies are more be sure to download the Beloved Women mobile app available for free in the apple and google play stores or visit us online at www.belovedwomen.org.
Image Credit: ©Thinkstock/Lena_Zajchikova
The other day I had a huge argument with my husband. The bigger issue other than the argument itself was the fact that my husband had no idea about it. That’s because the disagreement all took place in my head. I just knew what he would say, and I knew what I would say back because I was rehearsing it in my mind until the Lord convicted me as He does when I allow my thoughts to run wild and I find myself in a mental state I ought not to be. I quickly repented and prayed for the Lord to redeem my thinking and He did as usual.
Instances like that serve as a reminder that our greatest battles are many times in our minds. Staying positive and thinking pure and lovely thoughts, as the Bible instructs to do in Philippians 4:8 is much harder than it seems. Our thoughts lead to our beliefs, which lead to our actions, which lead to the quality of our lives. Our thoughts have too great of an impact for us not to guard them and keep our mind on God's will. For this reason, the Apostle Paul instructed the Church at Corinth to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)
Paul wrote this letter to the Church in Corinth to address false teaching they received that was against the truth of God and would thus lead them further away from God. In his strongly worded letter, Paul instructs them to do two things:
1 Take captive every thought.
2. Make their thoughts obedient to Christ.
Their thoughts were influenced by the opponents of Paul. Your thoughts may be influenced by a number of things; the sermon you heard last week, the comment from your coworker this morning, a song you just heard, a video you saw, a dream you had, or you may not even know. The thought could have just popped into your head for no apparent reason at all.
Still, each thought should be held captive. Captive meaning to subjugate or bring under control. Either we can control our thoughts or our thoughts will control us. To take our thoughts captive means not allowing each and every thought of ours to quickly control our beliefs, actions, and emotions. Just because we think it, doesn’t mean we have to respond to it.
This will give us the necessary time and clarity of mind to determine if this is a thought we should be led by or not. Then we can place our thoughts into two categories. Those that align with God's truth and push us towards His will and those that don't align with His truth and push us further from Christ. We take our thoughts captive by ridding our mind of the thoughts not of God and believing those that are.
Think of your thoughts on a conveyor belt with some going to your actions, some going to your feelings, and others going to your beliefs. You are the factory worker that must examine each thought on the conveyor belt to determine if it should influence you are not. The factor to determine if a thought should stay or go is based on if it alights with God’s truth or not.
If it doesn’t, we then implement part 2 of Paul’s instruction which is to make our thoughts obedient to Christ. So we don’t just stop at throwing away the lie, we then replace it with God’s truth. Because if they don’t align with God’s truth, our thoughts will not lead to actions that are obedient to Christ.
If I constantly believe the lie that I’m all alone and unloved, I will seek love and company outside of Christ, maybe even willing to compromise my relationship with Him to get it.
If I choose to believe I don’t have a purpose in life, then I forfeit the beautiful plan God does have for my life bY rejecting the truth found in Jeremiah 29:11.
If I think that because of one bad experience I can’t trust anyone, then I block myself from ever experiencing genuine intimate relationships.
If I think that God’s love for me is based off how much money I make or what I do right then I have an incorrect view of the Gospel and do not fully comprehend all that God has done for me.
Capturing our negative thoughts and making them obedient to Christ is not easy and honestly, we can’t do it without the power of God. Good for us His power is available to us as we ask Him in prayer. So I want to give you my personal 3 step prayer process for capturing negative thoughts. Yes, I have a whole process for this because I have a lot of practice in this area. Don’t ask me why.
1.) The first step is to pray for discernment. This is simply asking God to quickly reveal when you’re having a thought that you need to let go of because many times we don’t even realize it. And if we don’t realize a thought is harmful, we’ll never reject it. So we desperately need God to make it clear to us which thoughts need to say and which need to go.
2.) Once you’ve discerned a thought is not of God, pray for God to help you reject that thought. Ask Him to give you the strength to no longer live as though that negative thought is true. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we want to believe a lie because it’s just easier to do so or maybe it’s something we’ve believed for a really long time, and it’s going to take a certain level of humility to let it go. A humility that only comes from God.
3.) The last prayer to capturing negative thoughts is to pray for God to replace the lies with His truth. This is why its’ so important that we are in God’s Word so we can know the truth to replace any lies. We can do this through studying God’s word and memorizing scripture.
Think of your mind as a garden and your thoughts as seeds. Thought seeds against God will grow into weeds that suck the nutrients out of the soil making it more difficult for good thoughts to grow. We want to throw those out before they even have a chance to take root. Then we want to pray for our good thoughts to become even more fruitful and ask God for constant reminders of His truth. Then God's truth will take root in our lives and bring forth a fruitful life that gives Him glory.
I challenge you this week to be more prayerful about your thought life. Then comment and let me know what steps do you take to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ?
For even more Beloved encouragement visit me at www.belovedwome.org and sign up to download my free Video Bible Study + Prayer Guide called "Worry Free". In this study, you will learn the three lies feeding your worry and the truth that can finally set you free. Sign up here to start living the worry-free life now!
On the Friday before Easter Christians celebrate what we call Good Friday. Today we honor the day that Jesus was crucified on the cross. The day He was publically ridiculed, disrespected, and mocked. Today was the day He died, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of His followers and diminishing their hope for the great King they anticipated. It doesn’t sound like such a Good Friday now does it? And on the day He was crucified it certainly didn’t hold the term.
However, post-resurrection today is a Good Friday because if there is no Friday, there is no Sunday. If there is no crucifixion, there is no resurrection. It was the worst day ever that ushered us into the best day ever. So we don’t forget this day because our salvation came at a cost that was paid for on Friday. Today is good because Jesus didn’t have to die. He willingly took this cup and walked this path. So as we anticipate the resurrection and prepare for Sunday don’t forget today. It’s a sober day. It’s a hard day, and still, it is good.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. May I never forget the price paid for my salvation and live a life of gratitude to You in response to Your ultimate act of love for me. In Jesus Christ Name I pray. Amen.