Fall has arrived in Wisconsin. The leaves are changing from bright green to brilliant orange and deep reds. Summer’s warm days spent in the garden and evening cruises on the pontoon are hard to let go of. Yet, Fall holds a different kind of beauty and joy – everything pumpkin spice, football, sweater weather, a slower rhythm, and countless excuses to curl up with a good book and mug of tea.
This season shift has me reflecting on what it looks like to discover joy in every current season.
Can I be really honest? 80% of the time I’m joyfully content in this current season. I love the freedom and flexibility of being single, I’m grateful for my cozy cottage and am blessed beyond measure with a job that is less career and more calling.
But then there are the other days. You know, those days when Social Media declares everyone’s highlight reel or another online dating experience leaves me frustrated more than hopeful. It’s on those days that I struggle to find the beauty in my current season.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot….and HE has made everything beautiful in its time
And then I read this verse from Ecclesiasties and it’s a gut check. God’s way and timing are perfect, He wants you to not just survive but thrive where you are.
In my journey to discovering joy, there have been a few tough lessons that I’ve learned. I share them with you, not as a formula to make life perfect, but as a reminder that discovering joy in your season IS possible.
QUIT THE COMPARISON TRAP
Comparing your current season to someone else’s will only lead to frustration and discontentment. YOU beloved were born with a unique set of gifts, talents, and skills. Where you are today is not an accident. You were made to shine God’s light into the world around you.
When my heart is feeling particularly tender, I tend to stay off of Facebook and limit my Instagram scrolling.
If that desire to compare still creeps up, I’ve learned to …
The simple act of listing 3-5 things I’m grateful for right now is enough to bring me back to a perspective of abundance and allowing me to praise God through it all.
Like the familiar hymn reminds us…
This is my story
This is my song
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
For you, quitting the comparison trap might mean staying off Pinterest and reading a book or turning of HGTV and going for a run. The important thing is to uncover the trigger of your discontentment and replace it with something that is life-giving.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
Who do you call when life gets tough? Who do you celebrate your good news with? Friends, we were not meant to do life alone. God formed and created us with each other in mind.
I think we sometimes have this vision of what perfect community looks like. You know, a perfectly suited, like-minded group of friends who hang out 24/7, are well-dressed, agree on everything and laugh A LOT.
In real life community is messy and imperfect, but oh so worth it. Community means loving each other in the mess of daily life. Community means committing to each other even when it’s inconvenient.
Just last week I was having a particularly rough day. Out of the blue, I got a phone call from one of my dear friends just to talk and say hi. She immediately asked how she could pray for me and I could just feel the weight of the day lifting off my weary shoulders.
I want to encourage you to go out and find some people (or even one person) that share your season of life. Don’t loose heart friend, keep stepping out in faith and investing in relationships. They are what make life worth living.
Be honest with yourself, your people and your God.
This is NOT easy for this recovering people pleaser and perfectionist. I’ve learned that embracing your season starts by being honest about those other feelings. When we take the time to figure out what is at the heart of our struggle, we can then begin replacing it with truth!
When the emotions are running high, I know I need time to process and just let it all out. I set a timer for 10 minutes, get out my journal and just write. When the timer goes off, I look back over what I wrote and see if what I’m feeling or thinking lines up with scripture. If not, I find a bible verse that contradicts the lie or negative thought pattern I’ve been having and write it on an index card and stick it someplace where I can see & read daily.
Sometimes you might need a trusted friend, mentor or counselor to process things with. Do that and be honest in your conversations. Don’t feel less than or ashamed, remember friend, we are not meant to do life alone.
This season as a 30-something single woman is full, abundant and so different than I could ever imagine. I’ve learned that just because everyone else seems to be on the same path, that doesn’t make yours any less valid. I want to encourage you that wherever you are today, there is beauty waiting to be discovered.