by Kristyn Schott
How are you feeling about the season you’re currently in? Are you thriving or barely surviving? Are you constantly wishing for a different season, to get out of the one you find yourself in?
You see, I think we often spend the season we’re in wishing to be in another one. The problem becomes when we spend our lives constantly wishing they were different, wishing these moments didn’t exist, we forget to actually live our life.
But you were not created to live like that! You were created to flourish – regardless of your situation or season.
Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
These verses don’t say that God created us to do good works as long as we’re in a good season; or that God works all things out for our good as long as our season is good; or even that God will only continue to work in us as long as we stay in a good season.
Why? Because God isn’t looking at our season, he’s looking at us in it, knowing how He created us to be and do. God created us to flourish in every single season we go through, whether or not we think it is “flourishing”.
We often tend to think of “flourishing seasons” as good ones, where we seem to have what we want and need, and everything is smooth sailing. But the definition of flourish is “to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way”. Growth can happen even in the valley, even in the low times. The season that you are in is for God to purposely grow you in some area(s) of life. Maybe it’s patience in the waiting. Forgiveness in the hurting. Faith to let go and let God. Whatever it is—wherever you are right now—you have the ability to flourish, grow and develop as God calls you.
The second part of the definition is “especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment”. However, favorable does not always mean the “good, happy, nothing wrong” environment that we, as humans, tend to think of. Favorable means “to the advantage of someone or something” or “beneficial”. The season you are in, even if it feels hard or unbearably bad, is set up to give you the advantage to grow in a certain way. I know that can be hard to understand at times, especially when we see everyone around us accomplishing things, getting things we want, thriving, hitting milestones we desire, etc. It can become so easy to dislike the life you are living currently and wish for a future life or a different season.
But I realized that if I solely focus on what I wished I had; I could not flourish where I am right now. And where I am (and you are) right now is exactly the season God has for me (for you). I am in a purposeful season, and so are you! Every season that we go through has a purpose.
Think of even when farmers plant their crops, there is a season of no blooming, no harvest, etc. That’s because every season cannot be that way or there would never be any time for growth. No time for weeding back the dead spots so that new crops can flourish. Jesus even says in John 15, “while every branch that does bear fruit he [God] prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” This season may feel like you’re being pruned, but it’s not a punishment, it’s a preparation. Preparing you to bear even more fruit in the seasons to come.
See, we were created to flourish. It’s in our DNA; it’s our identity. And we aren’t defined by our season. Our identity isn’t found in where we are right now.
Just think, a year isn’t defined simply by one season: fall, winter, spring, or summer. Neither are you defined by the season you’re in, the seasons you’ve been in or the seasons yet to come. Only God gets to define you because He created you. So, this season didn’t create you, but it is revealing who you are in your heart.
And I think in this season, a lot of the dark parts of our hearts are being revealed, and if you’re like me, you don’t like it. But God reminds us that He will give us a new heart and put a new spirit in us; He will remove from us our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). That gives us the ability and empowers us to flourish in this season. But how can we begin to take action towards that? Here are 3 practical tips for flourishing in the season you’re in:
Don’t Wait “Until”
So often we see people make goals or decide to do something when they reach another season. I’ll just be happy when “x”, I’ll get to that when I “x”, I can start working on this when “x”. Guess what? You can be happy, get to that, and start working on things in this season!
Set yourself goals, look for opportunities, accomplish what you want in the season you’re currently in. Not one yet to come. Because every season is special and holds possibilities. And if you keep waiting “until” you’re going to miss every single season you ever go through.
For example, I am in a season of singleness (and have been for a while). Instead of me wishing for a relationship or for the day when I am married, I am choosing to embrace where I am and find the ways that I am able to grow, flourish, and serve God that I would not be able to when in a relationship or married. Or if I’m still struggling with mental battles from my eating disorder recovery, I’m still deciding to choose joy today, not when those thoughts disappear!
Spend time with God
When we spend our time around people (whether in person or on social media), we often begin to compare ourselves to them. Our season to their season. And comparison is the quickest way to stay dead where you are. Comparison really is the thief of joy. But God is the embodiment of joy, in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
Jesus even reminds us of this in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” When we compare ourselves to others, we are having our ability to flourish stolen, killed and destroyed. But when we spend time with God and fill our minds with what He says, we find abundant life, regardless of our season.
Spending time with God also reminds us of His promises and builds our faith that He can and will do what He says. It takes faith to flourish in a season that seems anything but; however, it’s in our faith that we find our ability to flourish. Oftentimes, what we’re going through is defined by what we see or feel, and while feelings are 100% valid, they are not the truth. What God says is the truth and He calls us to live by faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And when we seek God first in this season, He will provide in the seasons to come (Matthew 6:33).
Remember This Isn’t Your Forever
No season lasts forever. No matter how long or short it seems, the next season will come in its time. You’re definitely allowed to grieve the season you’re in, but don’t let yourself stay in that dark hole that says this will never end. Because that is the lie of the enemy and he is absolutely wrong. Accept where you’re at in life. However, just because you accept it doesn’t mean you have to like it or get complacent in the situation. It just means you have to understand where you are and that you are there for a reason.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” (I highly recommend reading verses 1-14). There is a purpose for the season you’re currently in. God knows what season you need to be in today, so that He can take you into the season He has for you tomorrow. Or in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc. The season you are in is providing everything that you need to flourish and grow right where you are, into right where you are supposed to go.
Last, but not least, stop trying to control everything and trust God. Once you realize that you are not in control—He is—your life will become much simpler. Oftentimes we try to control things and end up feeling much worse in our season because we see how far we are from something. Listen, God has you where you are for a reason, one that you may not understand but that’s the thing, you’re not supposed to. That’s why He is God and you’re not. Pray, seek God, ask for answers. His response may not come immediately but continuing to just live and be in His presence will adjust your mindset to trusting Him and following wherever He may lead.
So instead of wishing for that perfect job, that relationship or marriage, that body, that next event, or that season, live in the moment as you are. Because when you wish for those things, you lose sight of your purpose TODAY and you lose the ability to FLOURISH in the season God has you in. Think of it this way:
A flower doesn’t spend this season wishing for next season and how it’ll look then. Instead, it uses its energy and resources to bloom and grow where it is currently at. Have that same mindset with your life so that you are able to flourish, grow, and discover yourself in the season that you’re in today.
P.S. If you’ve found yourself or are finding yourself in seasons of a bad relationship with food, exercise, or your body, check out my book, More Than Conquerors: a devotional for girls and women who have struggled or are struggling with an eating disorder.