It’s just a phase. I never saw myself doing this. Have you had that thought lately? You might also be in a special time. Perhaps, like me, it is a season of transition…a holding pattern until what you’re waiting for happens. Ultimately, this time, or phase, can be both exciting and fear-filled. Maybe even, it is a true calling you never realized you had. In like manner, it could be a unique spiritual exercise that needs to happen to get you to your goal?
However, what if this time brings something that derails your plans and this is you working through the resulting wreckage? Whatever the reason, there are seasons and places in which you never expected to find yourself. What then? How do we get from “I never saw this coming” to a place of acceptance?
It’s a phase…
Of course, some people, especially Christians you may know, might call this a season. A season? Like winter, spring, summer, or fall? Be that as it may, I don’t want this to be a regular occurrence that happens to me again and again! Don’t worry. After all, that isn’t necessarily the case with you. That phrase (season) comes from the book of Ecclesiastes, one of what I flippantly call the most depressing and grumpy books of the Bible, but it’s really helpful when you’re in a time:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)
Wow, that was a long passage. Do you see your time listed there? Can you recognize what you are working through? Uniquely, God’s got you covered. Ok, so I’m in a season, now what? How do I accept this?
1) Key to acceptance – Balance & Pray
First, it’s time for a balancing act: fight and accept. Fight for what you want with hope and joy. Furthermore, accept it for what it is and still move forward. My current season is filled with more acceptance than fighting because that is the right balance for my situation. In contrast, yours may look differently.
Secondly, pray with unbridled honesty. In light of that honesty, if you have anger, that won’t scare God away. Likewise, are you embarrassed? God won’t pick on you and make you feel worse. Similarly, does your heart ache? Are you are deep in sorrow? God won’t belittle you. Moreover, God will empathize and cry with you. Yes, God will cry! As a matter of fact, the all mighty, powerful God, Creator of the universe will shed tears for you. God is a feeling god who modeled you after Him. In the same manner, He feels and loves deeply.
2) Key to Acceptance – Rest & Trust
Feel all the feels and share them completely with God. Then rest in His presence, listen to His thoughts, recognize what parts of you are now free. Give thanks and praise, revel in His love. You can also find comfort in his presence and delight in His goodness. Not all this will come at once. It’s not a pray once and you’re done. Push in. Pray for what you want. Ask for God’s insight to this point in your life.
Trust Him with the process. You can also trust Him to guide you and give you answers. You may be surprised what you will get when you ask God. How do I do this? More on that in a future blog.
3) Key to Acceptance – Assess Your Season
In addition to prayer, look and notice what is happening first and then act. I have a temper and sometimes don’t see all the parts and just get mad. Sometimes I am so sad or embarrassed I avoid looking at a person, or a situation. All too often, our emotions control our responses. Until you are ready for the next step of change, take notice.
Look for how this situation can benefit you! Find what you can do that brings you joy. Furthermore, look for a way to help and serve others, in our community of believers and in the city around us.
When you are doubting, you can look for the good. And if your response is, “There is nothing good right now.” Then maybe, look at how you got here. How did you get into this season? You may have a hard lesson to recognize about yourself. You may need to dig into how much Jesus LOVES you.
Another thing to look for is what are your strengths? What makes you YOU? Refine and redefine who you are and what you do. My desires, values, and interests have changed over the years. I think that’s a good thing. I’ve matured, had more life experiences, learned more. Shouldn’t I change? God is continuing his good work in me. Philippians 1:6. Additionally, old values and systems you have used for years may need to be altered, tuned up, given new life or focus.
4) Key to Acceptance – Build Your Support System
To start, heal past hurts. Forgive and restore relationships. Additionally, build in healthy habits: food, exercise, prayer, Bible reading, relationships. Clean your house literally and figuratively. What are you holding onto that you can release?
Again, you can pray about this as well. Go back and give God your progress report. Yes, He knows everything, but He wants to hear it from you and in doing so build your relationship with Him.
Finally, Repeat and return to each step as much as needed. Once may not be enough. And God will be there with you in all parts of the time you’re in.