A wise mentor during my late teens and early twenties was very passionate about two things: the natural world and the lessons of God that could be derived from it. Everything from gardening + God to farming + God and all details so involved fell into her purview; she loved finding the intricate similarities between how God designed the world and how He designed us.
These were lessons I carried into adulthood. The respirations of the world, the respirations of the human body; the heartbeat of nature, the pulse in a person’s chest. The way God built creation, from planet Earth to the cosmos, to be many parts working symbiotically to run the overall system—just like how His own family is made up of many interdependently-functioning organisms. That’s us, His children! From a micro to a macro scale, creation declares God’s glory (Psalm 19:1) and stands as irrefutable proof of His very existence (Romans 1:19, 20).
Creation also stands as a witness of passing time, holds marks of history, and teaches lessons to those willing to pay attention. One that has stood out clearly to me lately, especially with fall rapidly approaching, is the idea of seasons and change.
Why Seasons Matter
I consider myself blessed in that as I’ve gotten older, I find my preferences line up with the change of seasons. Right around the time I start to get tired of winter’s chill and a fresh coat of snow turns from nostalgic to nuisance, spring arrives. Similarly, as the summer’s relaxing heat turns to the baking, lazy days of August and September, my heart yearns for crackling leaves, crisp mornings, and pumpkin spice everything.
It’s important for nature to go through seasons, whether dramatic (ala Midwest livin’) or more temperate (hello, Florida!). The change of sunlight and temperatures cues the world through cycles of dormancy and wakefulness. Similar to the God who made it, the creation has times of great production and times of rest.
Unsurprisingly, our God designed us the same way; yet the modern “hustle and grind” culture makes it exceedingly difficult to find and embrace seasons of rest. I experience this often myself as a small-business owner. If I’m not up at 5am getting work done on my business, I feel guilty. Rest in my mind often translates to laziness or lack of care, and that’s not me! It can’t be me! Before I know it, I’ve fallen into the trap of measuring worth or personal investment solely by productivity.
Yet do we consider the world dead and worthless in winter? In a season of rest? Why do we despair so much when we find ourselves in moments of change and revision?
Everything In Its Time
There’s a quote I cherish, though I can’t find its definable original source, that says “Nothing in nature blooms all season. Neither should we.”
What a godly principle! There are things that serve in seasons of life, but then seasons change. We can struggle to cling to the old, finding value in the routine, or we can shake things up like a tree shedding its leaves and “rest” from “the way it’s always been”—finding a new season awaits us when we’re willing to let go of the familiar.
This is true not just of a business or hobby life, but of our spiritual life as well. How often do we go to a church that’s not feeding us because “That’s just where we go”, or read the same translation cover to cover because it’s what we’re comfortable with? Could we be missing new seasons God is calling us to in our spiritual walk because we’re too afraid of the unfamiliar and new?
My husband and I experienced this recently in our own spiritual journey. Around the start of the national quarantine in March 2020, we found ourselves profoundly blessed by a number of video series produced by a well-known ministry. Not only did I watch multiple episodes of their different seminars daily, but every morning my love and I moved through a separate series together.
And then, gradually but in relative tandem, we began to find our interest waning. It wasn’t that things of God mattered less—not at all!—but suddenly that particular “food source” wasn’t feeding us like it used to.
What happened? Well, those seminars were our source of spiritual bread for a season. And then a new season came, and we started looking for impact elsewhere.
Are You Ready for the Next Season?
In Ecclesiastes, we’re told that there is a time and season for everything under the sun. It goes on to list just a few of these opposite extremes: birth and death, planting and uprooting, weeping and laughing, love and hate, and so forth. The overall message is, one season of life may guide us down a particular set of spiritual actions, but in time we may be called to go elsewhere. And we must be willing to go!
Do you find your morning “quiet time” isn’t working and you’re struggling to focus? Try switching to evenings! Maybe you’re so familiar with the version of the Bible you’re reading, it allows your mind to wander. Switch it up! Prayer life stagnating? Try prayer journaling instead! Introduce new songs to your worship routine, try a different church, flip your devotion time!
There is no one “right way” to do life with God; there is no single practice that guarantees the most enriching spiritual walk which we must therefore keep in rigorous schedule or else we’re in neglect of our Heavenly Father. Rather, our spiritual journey will go through seasons like everything else in creation. There are times when a cup of coffee by the window in quiet prayer will reap the greatest fruit in our lives; other times, cracking open a heap of books will make us feel closer to our Maker. The point is not to find the one perfect way to engage with God, but rather to be mindful of the season you are in and ask God to draw your heart nearer to His in each and every one.
Most of all, don’t let yourself become discouraged if you find one particular practice makes you feel close to God for a long time, only to find that gradually the sense of intimacy is less. That’s just a cue, the leaves in your life turning from green to gold. God is always ready, willing, and able to lead you into the next season, the next step closer to Him. Ask Him to guide you, and He will—He is forever faithful in every season!