Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Seasons In Between

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19

Life is composed of many seasons. Some feel like you are on top of a mountain, others like you are in a vast, empty desert. Some seasons are filled with accomplishments and major life steps taking place. In between those seasons of fulfillment and success are seasons where it can feel as if you are standing completely still for entirely too long. It's monotony at it's worst, where you feel stuck in the simplicity of day to day life without any special matters of significance. It can feel empty and even meaningless. It can feel even more so when you see others in these amazing, life changing places in life such as entering dream careers, getting married, having children...all while you seem to be at a complete standstill. Yet those in between times can be filled with beauty, purpose, and meaning if you choose to see them that way.

I will be honest and say I was, very recently, bitter and even somewhat resentful towards God. I'm currently in a season in between, while several of the closest people in my life are not. I saw their fulfillment, looked at my lack thereof, and felt, in a way, abandoned by God. Why is seemingly nothing happening in my life? Why do I have to walk through this endless desert of nothingness while those around me are in fields of fresh greenery? Where is my life's meaning? Does my life even have meaning anymore? As I walked on and on through my overwhelming desert, slowly feeling more empty by the day, I one day stopped asking God why...because I stopped talking to Him altogether. That was when the last droplets of hope and meaning dripped away, and I felt completely and utterly empty.

We have choices in life. I don't believe that emotions are necessarily a choice in and of themselves, but what we feel directly relates to how we choose to perceive our circumstances. Perception will determine if a circumstance breaks you or makes you better. How you choose to see is how you will be. I saw my circumstances through negative, worldly eyes. I saw my in between season as a desert, an empty and painful struggle and an endless nothing. My emotions responded to that perception...I began to feel empty and meaningless myself, each day being a struggle. Then one night, in the midst of my painful emptiness, I decided to come to God again. Not to ask why or point fingers or tell Him how hurt I am. God knows how I feel, He knows the season I'm in, He knows my struggles and my hurt...I knew He knew all of it. I had fallen into such a dark and empty place, and all I knew to do was to set aside my own human feelings and perceptions and to seek His comforting light again. After all, He has brought me out of places much darker than this one. So I picked up my phone and opened my neglected prayer playlist. As I scrolled through the titles, a long-forgotten song caught my eye. The first words hit my ear, "This is my prayer in the desert, when all that's within me feels dry." For the first time in entirely too long, I felt something other than struggle and emptiness. I felt the Lord's compassion and forgiveness, I felt the darkness begin to lift. I felt my perception begin to shift. As I continued to listen, every line resonated in that place of brokenness that I had been living in for so long, yet hiding from everyone around me.

"All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship"

Over and over I repeat these lyrics to myself, singing them in my head and out loud constantly since that night. A feeling of hopeless emptiness going on too long when all I needed to do was find my refuge in God instead of pushing Him away. A brokenness that could have been avoided if I had chosen a better way of seeing my circumstances. A desert season not yet ending, but being seen in a new, life-giving way. I chose to shift my perception to God's and now I see the desert for what it can be. Desert seasons are incredibly valuable, because there it is just me and my God. In the desert, the fiery heat refines me and makes me better. I can pour all of my focus into my relationship with God without outside distractions. I can become who I need to be for life's biggest trials and biggest triumphs.

In the desert, you truly learn how to depend on God for joy and fulfillment rather than the experiences and happenings of this life.
In the desert, you grow into the person God has called and created you to be in Christ Jesus.

This desert is my season in between, and what I once so longingly wished would end, I now refuse to waste. It is still a struggle at times, but God is with me walking beside me every step. I am singing as I am being refined. I finally opened my eyes to see the stream of living water that has been in this desert the whole time.

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