Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Season Are You In?

I'm almost ashamed to share some of the ways I was feeling at the latter part of 2009 with you. But I believe that we've all had enough with pretending we feel good when we don't. And we've really had enough with Christians who pretend to have it all together when they don't -- so in the interest of honesty and transparency, I think I'll share.

At any rate, in December of last year, I wasn't in the happiest of states. Maybe that's an understatement. I was pretty miserable -- and to anyone close to me, I made it well known. I felt like I was working hard and nothing was happening. I was watching my friends go on adventures to other parts of the world while I felt stuck at home. It seemed like nothing was going right, or at least, nothing was going the way I wanted it to, at the rate I wanted it to. When I shared my feelings with my husband and told him how dull my life felt, how little I felt I'd accomplished as my 30th birthday drew ever closer, he thought there was something wrong with me. "Do you realize all that you've had the opportunity to do? All that you've already done and accomplished?" I'm sure I was being selfish, but in that moment none of that mattered. . . I still wanted more. I didn't want to have to look to the past to find the excitement in my life. I wanted it in the present moment.

And then during the last week of December I went to Urbana, and ever since I've come back, it seems like life has been one wild ride after another! From all that I learned there, to making a movie, to seeing the illustrations of my children's book which is going to be published in the coming months, to meeting some incredible new people, to finding out I'll be going to Haiti, to getting some awesome opportunities for my theatre company, to finding some exciting, new uses of drama in worship settings to working with an amazing group of kids in an afterschool program to. . . and the list goes on!

I actually have a friend who has commented on two separate occasions recently on my facebook page about how amazing my life is. And as I read her words I felt ashamed. She is right. My life is amazing -- amazing because of all the incredible things that God is doing and all the doors that He is opening. How shortsighted of me to get discouraged and how sad that I would ever become discontented with a life so full in so many ways!

And yet, it's easy to say that now, on the backside of things. But in the moment, when things were slow and grueling, that's just the way I felt. I didn't want to be in that funk, but I was. I can remember a time last fall when reading the psalms and happening upon a verse that said, "Though you sow with tears, you will reap with joy." I was sowing with tears much of last year when it felt like nothing was happening and now I am in a season of reaping with joy when it seems like more things are happening than I could ask for or imagine. But I'm coming to understand that we need these different seasons

During the season of sowing with tears, we learn to depend on God, not on our own abilities or successes. Without this season perhaps we would forget that God is in control. That no matter what we are capable of doing, no matter what our abilities -- without God nothing will happen. For you can plant everything perfectly, but without sun and rain, all your efforts will be for nought.

During the season of reaping, maybe we learn the value of the season of sowing. I look back and think about all that I learned during that season, and all of the things I was able to do that now, with the busier nature of my life, I lack the time to do. And I realize how valuable that time was. I didn't value it in the moment. In fact, I practically squandered it sometimes feeling bad for myself, wishing I had more going on. Now, what I wouldn't do for a string of free days where I had the time to just be; where I wasn't thinking about my to-do list 24/7!

And then too, I want to be someone who is grateful for each season. It's easy to praise during harvest season when you're seeing the fruit of your labor. But it's much harder to praise during sowing season, when you have no idea what, if anything, will come of your labors and toil. I guess the key is learning to be open to what God would teach you in every season. I'm sure that sowing season will come again -- I just hope I'll be able to remember this lesson when it does.

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