Thursday, March 5, 2015

Devotional | Joy in each season

Winter has a bad reputation.

I, myself, have been pretty harsh toward winter this year. Perhaps it's because I feel like winter has been pretty harsh toward me. My car has slipped out of my control one too many times for comfort, the bitter cold of a frigid nine degrees has sliced through my winter coat and the ice has destroyed my favorite winter boots. Talk about first world problems!

Let's face it, winter is uncomfortable.

It's cold. 
It's icy.
It's antisocial.
It's inconvenient.
It's unpredictable.

And after a while, these things can put you in a bad mood. After being stuck indoors without the sun, it's easy to allow yourself to become grumpy. At least it was easy for me. Then it dawned on me, spiritual/emotional winters have made me feel the same way.

Cold toward God.
Icy attitude toward others.
Everything is an inconvenience.
Nothing is predictable.


Because just like in a physical winter, in a spiritual/emotional winter, nothing is FLOURISHING. 

The things God promised you ... Where are they? The richness and joy? Where is it? It is all covered in ice.  It is difficult to go day after day without seeing new growth or new life because everything in your life is in hibernation. Especially because when it comes to spiritual/emotional winters, everyone else isn't necessarily enduring it with you.

Most of the time we are enduring spiritual/emotional winters ... alone.

While we are trying to deal with the consequences of our actions; while we are trying to pick up the broken pieces of that relationship; while we are still mourning over the death of that loved one; while we are trying to financially recover after the lay off; someone else is flourishing. As if to taunt us. As if to remind us of the details of our faults and how others have done it right and have done it better than we have. 

But what if I told you that God never promised us a forever summer. What if I told you that we weren't made to be in a forever state of flourishing, but were made to experience different seasons and each season has it's own purpose. Even the bad ones? Even the ones that make us feel down right poopie. 

Sometimes in the midst of winter we need to:

Go ice skating.
Have a snowball fight.
Sled down a dangerously high hill. 
Drink hot chocolate.
Sit by a warm fire. 
Buy a cozy blanket.
Stay snuggled in bed.

Decide to do joyful things in the midst of an spiritual/emotional winter because it allows us to be more open to hope. Hope comes in knowing that God will make a way for spring to come. 

Not once this season have I doubted the arrival of spring in May. I know spring is coming. I know bright sunny days are in my soon-to-be future. The HOPE of that keeps me positive, and in the mean time, I can be content enough to make the best out of this winter and take Solomon's wise advise in Ecclesiastes Chapter three:
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 |

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I've had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift. (the message)

Today my boss asked me and my coworker to go sledding for a photo shoot at work. I was not properly dressed, but something told me that I needed to do it. The exhilaration of sledding down a steep hill brought me joy. In reality, nothing changed; the snow remains falling from the sky and ice abounds, but I made a different decision. I decided to "have a good time," as stated in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. If it's going to snow anyway, might as well enjoy it!

It might be cold. You might not have the right shoes or are ill prepared, but if you are in a spiritual/emotional winter remember this:

God has made everything beautiful in its time. Eccl.3:11

Spring is coming. It is so close. In the meantime, stay hopeful and decide to do the things that will bring you much joy.

Make the most of it. It is God's gift. 

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