Fall has unofficially arrived in Wisconsin. The leaves are changing from various shades of green to brilliant orange and deep reds. Summer’s warm days spent in the garden and evening cruises on my kayak 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 & find beauty in the current season that I’m in. Can I be really honest for a second friends? 80% of the time I’m joyfully content right where I am. I love the freedom and flexibility of being single, grateful for darling & quirky old home, and am stretched in a job that is less 9-5 lifestyle and more courageous calling.
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 it’s timeEcclesiastes 3:22
But then there are the other days. You know, those days when Social Media shouts the highlight reel leaving me feeling not enough or another online dating experience leaves me frustrated more than hopeful. It’s on those days that I look around and struggle to find the beauty in my current season.
And then I read this verse from Ecclesiastes and it’s a gut check. God’s way and timing is perfect. And more than that 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 and 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 time.
If that desire to compare still creeps up, I…
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 discover the trigger of your discontentment and replace it with something that is life-giving.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
Who do you call when you life get tough? Who do celebrate 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 Marco Polo message just to talk and say hi. She 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 with joy 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. 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.