When Seasons Change: How to Discern the Difference

"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

One of my favorite seasons is Fall. For several reasons, such as watching the leaves changing color, the flavors of pumpkin spice and apple, brisk mornings and warm afternoons, and the list goes on. But the thing is, as much as I love the Fall, this season does not last forever, and I must maximize the moment. The leaves will eventually fall, the nights will become longer and the days will become shorter, and the weather will turn colder. If I am not careful, this moment will quickly pass me by.

Just like we have natural seasons, we also have spiritual seasons. Some seasons are dry, some are fruitful, some are dark, some are challenging, some are refreshing, etc., and they all serve a purpose to help us grow spiritually. There are seasons of spiritual purging, pruning, planting, plowing, and producing. The problem is, we cannot always sense the changing of these seasons with our natural eyes, and we must use our spiritual senses.  That requires us to be in sync with the Holy Spirit, and our own life stages. 

As much as we would like for it to be, and no matter how much we name it and claim it, it is not always harvest season. There is always a delay between sowing and reaping. If you are continuously just waiting on the harvest, but you don't take advantage of the planting, plowing, and pruning seasons, you will continue to wait on a harvest that you never prepared or worked for.  And your season will not always mirror someone else's. That is why you must have your own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to lead you. So how do you discern the difference? Here are a few clues:

Spiritual Winter: You may feel lonely, separated, or isolated. You may be recovering from having lost some people or resources in the spiritual Fall. It is a darker season, and you may feel forsaken by God. It is a strategic planning season. A time to review what went well, and what did not, and to prepare for planting in the spiritual Spring. It is not a harvest season.

Spiritual Spring: After coming out of your planning session in the Winter, you are now ready to get to work, and put your prayers and plans into action. It's time to come out of your cave, and get out into the field. You feel refreshed and renewed. You feel showers of peace, direction, clarity falling over your life. This is a planting, rebuilding, and investing season.

Spiritual Summer: You begin reaping the benefits of your sowing in the spiritual Spring. You may "feel the heat" so to speak, and feel overwhelmed by the overflow and growth. This is also a time for play, rest, and rejuvenation. There will be moments of challenging and testing, as if you are being refined in the fire. It may feel like a season of "extremes." This is a season for resting and testing. 

Spiritual Fall: You begin to prepare for the upcoming spiritual Winter, by storing up spiritual strength and fruit. This is the last major harvest before the Winter, and is a season of gratitude and generosity. Fall is a time to let go of people, places, and things, that will keep you from reaping in the next season. It is a season of celebration and preparation. 

It is possible to be in different seasons in multiple areas of your life. If you pay attention to the cycles, it will get easier to discern what season you are in. That way you can minimize your frustrations and the element of surprise. You will already know what to expect, and be prepared to maximize the moment. 

Your challenge is to pick 4 major areas in your life, such as finance, business, relationships, and spiritual growth and determine which season you are in for each of them. Ask the Lord to show you what you should be doing to get the most out of where you are right now, and to prepare you for what lies ahead. While change may not be easy, you can definitely have peace in knowing that seasons don't last forever, there is purpose in each one, and God is with you through them all. 

Have a great week!

Arianne

P.s. My new book "Guardian Rules: 30 Lessons to Help you Live Your Best Life," is now available on Amazon.com! You can purchase your copy here.

P.s.s. Let's stay connected! Subscribe, and make sure you connect with me via Instagram, Periscope, and Twitter @ariannemockabee.