Transitioning Through the Seasons of Life

 

 

Schools are starting back up after the summer and the fall season is upon us. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Most people have a favorite season and one that they don’t look forward to. One thing for sure regardless of how we feel about any season they will constantly come around. This is also a reality of life. We live life in seasons of constant change. Just as we can’t stop the seasons of the calendar, we can’t stop the seasons of life. Every season brings a new change we must learn how to deal with.

People who are happy, positive and well adjusted have learned how to accept and transition to their next season. Failure to accept this reality results in people getting stuck in the transition phase, so they are unable to move on. It can also cause people to spend enormous amounts of emotional energy trying to do the impossible —  hang on to the old season. This will lead to depression, anger, anxiety, unresolved grief, regret, pride or shame just to name a few of the possible consequences. Here are a few thoughts to help transition through the seasons of life successfully.

 

Life is about seasons

Acceptance of reality is what makes reality easier to accept. We know there is a process of human growth and development. Over time we develop physically, mentally, socially and physically. Even Jesus (God incarnate) went through this process (Luke 2.52). Seasons such as this are part of the divine design. Solomon said, “To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3.1). He then in verses 28 describes some of the seasons for us.

What we learn from Solomon’s observations about life and its meaning is that seasons are a normal part of the cycle of life. Another thing is that often one season is opposite from the previous one. Life is seldom just a straight line of things getting better and better. It is more like a roller coaster of ups and downs, positives and negatives. Many are afraid to enjoy the good times because they worry about when the “other shoe” will drop and the bad times roll in. The secret of making successful transitions from one season to the next is to learn contentment (Philippians 4.11; 1 Timothy 6.6). Whatever the situation we can be content because we trust in the sovereignty of a loving God who is working all things for our eventual good (Romans 8.2829).

 

No season lasts forever

Do not expect to stay in any season forever. When our four children were all small, older folks would say to us, “Enjoy them now because they grow up quick.” Sometimes I thought, not quick enough. Guess what. They did all grow up and left home, and my wife and I were in the empty nest season before we could believe it. Even though we knew this season was coming, and we accepted it as the way things are supposed to be, still there were emotions to work through.

Is there a season in your life that has ended, and you are struggling adjusting to the new one? Some seasons we can hardly wait to get to and others we hope will never come. But whatever the season good or bad just remember none of them last forever. They may last longer than we want but it will end. Someone is saying, “That isn’t true, I lost a loved one and they will never return,” or “I am old and my youth is forever gone.”Again, no season in this life lasts forever. Death will eventually end every season. Only the eternal season lasts forever. This is why Christians always have hope regardless of the season. We look forward to that heavenly city whose builder and maker is God, the season that will never end.

 

It takes time to transition through the seasons

Why do we often have a hard time moving from one season to the next? That’s because with the end of every season there is usually some kind of loss. This loss needs to be grieved, and here is where we often get stuck. Emotionally we don’t realize what is happening to us. Denial sets in, and we don’t know how to identify and grieve our losses. Successful grieving allows us to let go of the past season and accept the reality it is gone. Once we do this we are able to open ourselves to God’s next season for us. We are able to consider the possibilities of what good things the new season holds.

There is nothing wrong or unnatural about missing something from the old season. The pro athlete may miss the game but is able to enjoy what the next season holds, the new challenges, experiences and opportunities. What are some things he won’t miss from the old season? We need to allow ourselves some time to make the transition. The amount of time will be different for every person and season.

All the seasons of life are about preparing us for the final and eternal season of the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21.15). This is why as a Christian when you grieve an ending season you always maintain hope in the

grief (1 Thessalonians 4.13).

 

Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach along with his son John Jr. He can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.

John Hawkins, Sr :