My life, as does everyone’s, has gone from season to season. Each one seems to last about 20 years, except for this season of marriage and it is going on 45 years!! But even in those years, I have noticed there are different seasons. Some of them I saw coming and engaged in as much planning beforehand as I could. I remember planning my wedding and thinking about what I would be like as a wife. Of course, I thought I knew everything at the time so when I look back I realize I could have planned a whole lot better. We tend to plan for the event that leads into the season but we don’t take the time to plan for the actual season (Bridal Shower, Baby Shower, Graduation Party, Retirement Party, etc)
There is one season that nature actually makes you plan for and that is the season of children. Think about it, those nine months of pregnancy rob you of sleep, changes your diet, changes your body, your very personal everyday moments are interrupted and you feel like your body has been hijacked. This all prepares you for a season change. When I look back I have to laugh because I really had no idea how unprepared I was for that season. It’s a miracle my kids and I actually survived!! I mean, we didn’t have car seats and we let our babies sleep on their stomach!! But we did have Dr. Dobson 🙂
My #1 strategy for preparing for a new season is to HAVE A PLAN!
The first step to planning is to STOP DENYING it is coming. Looking back on the beginning of this season, the main thing that kept me from planning was denying it was going to be that big a change in my life. I had eased into it with my kids leaving home first. My husband was still working and I helped him a lot with pastoring our church. It was when we actually moved away (far away) to a totally new environment and I was no longer involved in my husband’s work that it all came crashing down on me. Don’t let yourself (like I did) wake up one day to realize you are in a new season and you don’t have a plan. Begin to prepare beforehand. You can’t be prepared for all the things you will face (because there are always some unknowns) but you will at least be acknowledging things are different.
The second step is to get rid of excess baggage. It’s kind of like packing for a trip. I start several days before I have to leave. I begin to think about the suitcase I will take and how much room I have in that suitcase and then I begin to plan what to pack by asking these questions. What is the weather like where I’m going? What am I doing while I’m there? Will I need dress up clothes or comfort clothes? After that, I choose everything I’d like to take and then I begin to see what I can put back in my closet. My goal is to take as little as possible but not to forget anything essential! I don’t want any extra baggage on my trip. Extra baggage slows you down. I didn’t have a plan for this season and because of that, I carried a lot of unnecessary baggage into this new season. You have to ask yourself some tough questions to help you know what to leave behind. What purpose will you have in this season of life? What passion do you want to pursue? Remember, you are planning for the future not looking to the past. Lay everything out in front of you and list every dream and vision you have ever had about your life because the sky is the limit. You will still be you, and in this season of life, you have the chance to make yourself the best you ever!
The third step when you are planning for a transition is to get advice from those who are already in the season you are heading toward. After you have admitted you are actually going their way and have quit denying it you are eager to ask those who are already in the season about what surprised them the most and what they would suggest you prepare for. It can be so comforting and enlightening to talk to those in your generation and the generation just ahead of you for their insight and perspective. Talking to those who have walked this road already gives us the courage to proceed with confidence.
None of us know what this new season will hold and everyone’s life is different but the one thing that has kept me steady in every season of life is to know that God is the God of each Season. We see Him in the changing Seasons of nature but we can also experience Him in our seasons of life. No matter what happens to me I know He loves me and His plan for my life in each season is for Good!
I’m going to end with this quote I recently read by Elizabeth Elliott whose husband, Jim Elliott, was murdered by members of the Waodani Tribe in South America while he was on a mission trip early in their marriage. She went through so much more in her life, becoming a speaker and writer who inspired many women in all generations with her “do the next thing and trust God” message. Here are some of her last words and ones I want to remember no matter what season I am in or going into and no matter how much I have planned or for what has taken me by surprise.
EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU HAS COME THROUGH
THE HEDGE OF HIS LOVE.” Elizabeth Elliott