Originally published Wednesday, 25 April 2018.
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.
1. A Growing Season
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.
2. A Pruning Season
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!
3. A Wilderness Season
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.
4. A Harvest Season
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.
Now I want to hear from you. Click here to take our Spiritual Seasons Quiz to learn which season you are in and receive suggestions for which Beloved Women resources will best serve you.
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