Last month a group of L3 Women retreated away for a weekend to a quaint town in New York. We laid aside all of our to-do lists and responsibilities and soaked in much-needed rest, refreshment, and connection. Often as leaders, we get caught up in doing and accomplishing and producing and easily forget the extreme value and importance of being present and connecting deeply with the people in our lives. Retreating away meant leaving behind significant others, kids, work, activities, and other weekend summer plans. It meant putting away technology, silencing the noise within us and around us, and letting ourselves experience soul-nourishing, meaningful, and intentional time together. As hard as that is sometimes to do, there really is nothing better!
One of my highlights from the weekend was our morning time of reflection. As a Mastermind Group, we often reflect on the seasons of life we are in.
- One girl just took in 3 new foster kids, while raising 2 of her own
- One is on a long and difficult journey waiting to adopt
- A few girls are pregnant with their first, second, third, and even fourth babies
- One lost a parent tragically within the past year
- A few are in tough seasons of singleness believing God to bring the right spouse
- Many are facing challenges with family members, friends, or marriages
- One just started a new job
- Another was launching a new business venture
- Another took over a company
- Almost all are dealing with some kind of insecurity, anxiety, or fear
In that moment, I was reminded that every one of us is in a season of life, and there are challenges and opportunities within every season. No matter what season you find yourself in, it doesn’t define you!
Your current season does not define you.
“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; and time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Some of us are holding on to one season and wishing it wouldn’t end. Endings can be difficult. Endings can feel lonely. Endings can feel like a loss. We lose a loved one, our kids grow up, we move away, our circle of friends changes, or we leave a job. Seasons force us to make necessary endings and move on. We forget that by definition a season has a start and an ending.
Others are longing for a different season. The working girl wants her boss’s job, the single woman longs to be married, the married woman would give anything to have kids, the stay-at-home mom reminisces about her single life and wishes she could get out of the house, or the working mom feels guilty being away from her kids and wants to be home.
When we hold on to a season that must end or we hope for a different season of life, we are missing out on the current season that is happening right now. We are blind to the beauty in the present. We are ignoring the purpose of this short window of opportunity that lies before us. And that’s often where we get stuck – wishing old seasons never died or wishing away our current one in hopes of the next new thing.Someone else is probably wishing for your season. See your season as a blessing. -Laura SmithClick To Tweet
We can’t live in any other time than now. We can only do things now. Now is the time. Now is all we have! Beware of the “one-day” mentality. Strip away the comparing, the judging, the wishing, the complaining and BE in your season. Embrace the imperfection, the messy, and the unknown in this season. Choose to be unjudging of the choices, the priorities, and the seasons that others are in life right now. Recognize that someone else is probably wishing for your season. See your season as a blessing. And remember that life is lived in seasons. No one season defines you. All seasons are temporary. All seasons are beautiful. And all seasons have a purpose.'No one season defines you. All seasons are temporary. All seasons are beautiful. And all seasons have a purpose.'Click To Tweet
During our morning time of reflection and discussion, I noticed a common theme. No matter what season of life we each found ourselves in, it was easy to forget the blessings and the beauty when faced with challenges. It’s so easy to allow doubt, insecurity, or even a negative attitude into our lives because of circumstances, comparisons, or our feelings taking over. We can all do a better job of intentional remembering the beauty of our current lives. We all need a good dose of encouragement from one another along the way to keep going.
I was reminded that there are boundaries, balance, and wisdom within seasons that must be honored. No one can skip Winter and jump to Summer. Likewise, seeing the dreams in our heart come to pass in our lives often requires us to push through difficult seasons. Our dreams often evolve over many days, months, and even years, and if we’re not careful we can grow impatient and let comparison, bitterness, or ungratefulness creep in.Seeing the dreams in our heart come to pass in our lives often requires us to push through difficult seasons.Click To Tweet
Your attitude is often a determining factor of how long you will remain in that season
How we respond when things don’t go our way is a glimpse into our heart and character. How we respond when things take longer than we thought will determine if and when we move from our current season to the next. Our attitude is hugely important as we navigate through each season.
“Whatever season of life you are in, there’s one way to do this season well: embrace it! Embracing your season does not mean you have to love it; it simply means letting it be. Your season will not last forever, but it might have something really good for you that you don’t want to miss by fighting the season you’re in, fighting the changes, or fighting what feels imperfect.” (Lara Casey, Cultivate)Understand and recognize there are lessons to be learned in this season that you will need in the next. Click To Tweet
Understand and recognize there are lessons to be learned in this season that you will need in the next. Choose to bloom and grow right where you’re planted. Instead of minimizing or downplaying this season of life, have a celebratory attitude, cultivate thankfulness, and intentionally choose to remember God’s faithfulness in the past. He is faithful in EVERY season. When you want to quit, remember how you overcame something difficult before. When you want to compare, remember all the blessings in your life right now. When you feel alone, remember that there are friendships hand-picked by God to help you navigate this season. When you doubt or you’re unsure of the future, remember that God has and always will be faithful to fulfill his purposes in your life. There’s a reason why God told us 166 times in the Bible to remember! I believe remembering and reflecting on these things changes our outlook, awakens courage, ushers in thankfulness into our hearts, and stirs up the fresh strength needed to keep going.
The most important thing I personally took away from our time away on the Women’s Retreat was that we need each other in every season of life. Often we enter seasons of life as a novice. We have no clue how to parent. We don’t know the ins and outs of a new job. We don’t know how to handle money when we get it. We don’t know where to start when it comes to leading a new venture. We often know little and aren’t prepared for the season before we enter it. The good news is that we can get wisdom before we enter into seasons! We can learn from others and gain wisdom from those further along in the journey than us. We can find a group of people to walk through life with, to model how to navigate our season well, and to encourage us along the way.
You need others in every season.
In Henry Cloud’s book The Power of Other, he says this – “Both your best and worst seasons were not just about the market or the business cycle, or even your own skills. Your best and worst seasons were also about who was in that season with you. “
I recognized during that weekend retreat that our group of girls may change. Some may come and go from L3 Leadership. But I believe we were on that retreat together at that time for a reason. I believe God puts specific people in our lives during the exact season that we need them. Why? Because we ALL have something to stir our faith about. Not just for ourselves, but for each other. No one is immune to storms of life. Every season of life has its own unique challenges. We aren’t that much different when we strip away the specific circumstances. Some of us are believing God to bring spouses, others a baby or a new job or finances, but one thing is for certain – every one of us is stretching, growing, and believing for new things in our current season. And the best part is that we are all in this together. It’s what makes relationships so vital and so special. We see each other through every celebration and every loss, and through it all, we carry each other forward in the journey. No one left behind! We don’t see through one other, we see one another through. Looking back on these seasons of life, I believe we will remember who was in that season with us…and I believe it will have made all the difference.
As this summer comes to a close and Fall quickly approaches, take time to reflect on your season of life. Choose to find the beauty in your current season. Remember that seasons do not last forever. Savor the good ones. Learn through the tough ones. And embrace what each one offers with a teachable and hungry-to-learn attitude.
Thoughts? Comment below!
If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please recommend it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below.
Connect with L3 Leadership:
Podcast – Each month we create 4 episodes to help you on your leadership journey.
Membership – Join a community of leaders changing the world.
Upcoming Leadership Events – We’d love to meet you in person!