This week’s chapter of Cultivate had a target on my heart. I’ve had a rough few days. I received some bad news regarding a couple that I love. And while I try to be the type of person that sees the good in all things, the truth is that some things simply suck. In the moment that they are happening, they suck. So spare me the cliches about silver linings and rainbows. I ain’t there yet. As I try to make sense of things that are out of my control, I find myself with a heavy heart. So, when Lara’s chapter spoke about embracing – rather than fighting – the season of life we are in, it hit home with me in a way that it may not have a few weeks ago.
I tend to envision that a successful life is full of constant progress. Constant. There is something to show for every day. And the best tomorrow is the one that is perfectly planned. If you have ever seen one of my monthly planners, you know how much I thrive with a plan in place. Give me a color coded planner jazzed up with adorable stickers, and I am on fire! I freakin’ love it! (Shout out to Erin Condren for making my nerdy heart happy!)
Fun fact: Life doesn’t work that way. In fact, nothing works that way.
So, you can see how I set myself up for added stress.
The point is, the seasons come and without any regard for how you feel about it. By fighting against the seasons, we miss an opportunity to appreciate the unique advantages of each phase of life. Winter allows for rest and preparation for the fast pace of Spring. Summer requires that we carefully water the crops that we have or risk a pitiful Fall harvest. Summer also asks that you be content with what you have. Rarely do you plant new crops in the dead of summer. You tenderly maintain what you have already planted and resist the urge for more until the time is right. Our lives follow a pattern of seasons – perhaps not in the same order as nature – but with the same purpose. Fighting the seasons does no good. The seasons are going to win every time. Every dang time. So, embrace your season and recognize how it may be preparing your heart for the next step. And give yourself a splash of grace when life laughs in the face of your beautifully colored day planner.
Another truth that I have realized is that you can embrace the happenings of your life and still be sad. Having an open heart doesn’t require an eternally sunny disposition. As I have already established, some things are simply terrible. I am giving myself permission to embrace the sadness – the feeling of loss – without guilt or expectation that I should feel differently. This phase of life requires a proper recognition that people I love are struggling. Their struggle impacts me because I love them so much that my happiness is tethered to theirs. Not entirely but surely. They get to be heartbroken. I get to be sad about that. And none of those feelings are wrong or in defiance of this phase of life.
Below is a summary of some of the questions asked in this week’s chapter. I loved how Lara created the image of our lives as a series of seasons. My life cannot always be in a state of forward motion. That would be exhausting! I have to have seasons of rest and seasons where I dutifully manage the things I already have rather than taking on new tasks. The soul cannot maintain continuous growth. Sometimes that sweet soul of ours needs the cozy socks and warm fires of winter.
What season are you in?