A Season for Everything

IMG_3853This past weekend, I enjoyed the great outdoors of the Colorado high country. The aspens shimmered with spectacular splashes of yellow, orange, and still-holding-on green. Fall is now here and winter is on deck. The changing of seasons reminds me of King Solomon’s perspective, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

You understand seasons in your own life. Kids growing. Job soaring. Health flourishing. You also understand seasons in which the people and prosperity of our lives can wobble and wane. I have three friends and two acquaintances right now in skirmishes with cancer and chemo. Two friends that lost their beloved dogs in recent weeks. Another friend searching months for a job.IMG_3756

The longer I live and the more fall leaves I photograph, the more I understand life’s joys and challenges come in seasons with splurges of brilliant colors and splotches of darker hues. My color commentary for more resilient living? Learn to embrace whatever colors your today and keep mindful and expectant that even the wearisome seasons will eventually fade into fresh, rich colors in their own time.

Brave and Resilient Tip #81: Learn to embrace whatever colors your today.

Let’s Talk

More on Seasons of Our Lives

 

Q.  What about the CHALLENGES in my season of life? How do I navigate when I feel deficient in my season?

 A. Let’s Talk! I believe with every fiber of my being that we are not defined by the season of life that we’re in. In my present season, I have been taking smaller and smaller steps (ugh) along with a shuffle or two. But! This week I started a program to retrain my feet and the circuitry in my brain to take BIG steps! The retraining is meant to overcome and override this season’s walking challenges. Re-patterning behaviors and thoughts has been a passion of mine for many seasons and now it’s time for retraining my steps. 

Whatever the season, we are often stretched way beyond what we thought were our limits or deficits. There are storms in every season, aren’t there? Crop damage in every season. What is key is not letting the season’s challenges rule us. We can’t forget the purpose of our life. That hasn’t changed.

May I ask a personal question? What do you think is the calling of your life? It is still there — whatever season you are in. Has the meaning of your life gotten lost as the leaves changed? Certainly we were not meant to walk in discouragement. We need our disappointments to be quieted. We need the Overcomer!

You know what I am going to say next. Yes, look up! God longs to take our deficits, shuffling, and emptiness — and enlarge our steps His way. For me, I am learning even more how to walk in step with Him. For those who look to God, He will fully provide just what is needed, step after step.

 

For Deeper Reflection

I believe that overcoming is a spiritual principle. When the challenges come, we are helped by the Overcomer, if we seek Him. What He begins in us is perfected in us. He truly provides the way for us to manage every season and/or provides the grace for us to bear the challenges. Moreover, we don’t have to be strong. Scriptures remind us that weakness brings us to Him and His Power is perfected in weakness. His strength for our weakness is completely counterintuitive to the world’s thinking, isn’t it? Take a fresh look at these two verses:

 Philippians 1:6  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

 

Let’s Talk

Changing Seasons of Our Lives

Q. What about the changes of new seasons of our lives – how do I navigate that?

A. Let’s Talk! Change is in the air, literally! With the arrival of fall, we are reminded of the four seasonal changes AND the seasons of our own lives. Are you in the spring of your life or somewhere between fall and winter? One of our readers left a comment about trying to help an elderly friend cope with her season of life. There is a lot to process “to be okay” in the season of life you in which you find yourself. Every season has its challenges. Those raising young children find their challenges exhausting and overwhelming in our culture. Senior citizens face failing health, financial uncertainty, and losses including the death of their spouse, friends, and even their own death. Those in a season in between these two have mammoth challenges for finding meaning in their work world and relationships, their mark, their place, their identity.

A small percent of the population even experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. But, a bottom line is: Are you going to choose to let the season of your year or the season of your years dictate your mood? Your mental health? Your joy?

I wanted someone in the spring season of life to share a bit – and thought of my daughter, Blythe Daniel (http://www.facebook.com/momstogether). She is a mom of three small children and she is in her early 40’s. Overwhelming. When I talked to her today she was in between caring for her children and herself with some things that could slow her down with her own body and needs. I thought it was time for her to share!  Blythe, tell us a little about your “season”:

“Thanks, Mom. I think the word I feel about the season is perseverance. Persevering when I don’t see the results I’d like to see some days. Trusting that God holds us close even when we feel like he’s far away and we have more “to do” than we have hours in the day. There are days when I feel like all I do is pick up toys, face piles of laundry, dishes, meals, and more. But I know that this “season” I’m in is very short-lived. Soon the kids will be preparing their own meals, doing their own laundry, and out with their friends and I will be wishing these moments back in my life. Why can’t we be content in the season we’re in?

We seem to always want to peek around the corner to see if it looks better over there, and step our toes into it and catch a breath of fresh air. But what if God is reminding us that he hasn’t put us there yet? If we skip ahead, we will miss what is in this season. The smiles, the giggles, the hugs. If you look up persevere in the dictionary, you find: “continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.” That’s it! We are supposed to stay on the course even if we think it’s not going to lead to success or reward or anything that would signify glorious. Have patience and know that God will be with you in all seasons and he will use your current season in your life in ways you never thought possible. Like a child, don’t we usually run to have our needs met when we’re in pain, uncomfortable, or don’t know how to do something? Oh, that we would be this type of person who is patient and pursues others so that they would find someone who truly wants to be “in season” with them. This is my favorite song right now that I listen to several times a day. From Matt Maher’s song “Lord I Need You,” comes this: “Where grace is found is where you are, Where you are, Lord, I am free, Holiness is Christ in me.”

For Deeper Reflection

2 Timothy 4: 2 “. . . be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Please share your season of life with us in the Comments section and we’ll post!

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.