By Tim Connor
I’m sure you are well aware that spring always follows winter and fall always precedes it. Duh. Not trying to insult you here just to make a simple point that has been true for thousands of years. Seasons come and go at their own pace and there is nothing we can do to slow them down or speed them up or influence their behaviors – they have their own agenda and schedule.
Having said this, you would be amazed at how many people try to rush the seasons of their lives and yes, each life has its four seasons and they come and go often with little regard for our plans, hopes, fears, dreams and desire to control them.
Before I continue let me clarify the quote at the end of this article. Yes, time passes at its own pace and offers its unique lessons to each of us but, this doesn’t mean we should just sit idly by waiting for things to change or improve on their own as time does move from one minute and one day to the next. OK, now that that is out of the way, let me get back to the basis of this message – the seasons of life.
Let me briefly describe each of them.
Winter – times of; despair, adversity, discouragement, pain, problems, challenges, uncertainty, regret, disappointment, resentment, endings and fear.
Spring – times of hope, dreams, new beginnings, plans, goals, desire, opportunity, optimism, belief, planting seeds and confidence.
Summer – times of relaxation, fun, enjoyment, wonderful memories, confidence, belief, effort, laughter, travel, vacations, easy days and pleasant nights.
Fall – times of harvesting, success, dreams realized, accomplishments, patience, rewards and contentment.
Yes, each of these seasons can have other – both positive and negative circumstances, emotions and outcomes, but each generally has a basic theme that generally defines this period of our lives.
Therefore there are three questions I would ask – what season are you currently in, in your life? How are you handling or managing it and are you effectively preparing for the next season?
What season are you currently in?
The seasons of life come in no particular order unlike nature’s seasons. You can be in winter as a young person as well as when you are a senior citizen. You can experience the joy of summer during your retirement years or you can find this time filled with effort, challenges and relentless problems. Keep in mind that each of us during our life can go through cycles of the four seasons where we move from winter to spring and back to winter. In life, a season can last a few weeks or several years, depending on how we think, act and behave during each season.
Fail to learn the necessary life lessons during a particular season and rest assured, you will find yourself once again facing similar issues or problems again in the future.
The challenge for each of us regardless of the season we find ourselves in at any given moment is to behave in a mature, responsible and positive way. Just because it’s fall and a time of harvesting previous decisions, actions or effort doesn’t mean you should just suit back and bask forever in the sunshine of blessings and success. You might want to consider some actions or decisions that will help you get through the coming winter with less pain and struggle.
If you find yourself in a winter that just won’t seem to end, this might be a time for continuous reflection, introspection and self-evaluation. Or, it could be a time of renewal as you prepare for the effort required during the coming spring and summer.
Regardless of the season you find yourself in at this time, it would be wise to maintain attitudes of growth, maturity, maintaining the right life outlook and recognizing that whatever season you are in is only temporary, is one of the best approaches you can bring to the current season. Just keep thinking – this too shall prepare me (or as many people are fond of saying – this too shall pass).
How are you handling or managing it?
Each season of life requires different decisions, actions and behaviors.
When in spring periods (again – times of growth opportunity and planting seeds) you need discipline, effort, patience and belief. This is a time of waiting and planning. It’s a time for confidence, action and consistency. When your actions and behaviors embrace these mindsets you are setting yourself up for future success in the coming seasons. Without them you will fail to realize the hopes, dreams and results you desired.
When in the summer season (again – times of enjoyment, effort and confidence) it is vital that you maintain vigilance, balance of work and play and patience. Ignoring your spring efforts (of planting seeds etc.) will guarantee that your harvest in the fall will be less than expected or desired. This is a time of blended activities – enjoying the playful summer days and nights while not neglecting your efforts and goals.
When in the fall season (see above definition) it can be easy to just enjoy the fruits of your previous labors and just reap your harvest day after day. But again caution is advised as winter is just around the corner and if you fail to harvest successfully which includes mental and physical preparation for what lies ahead, you may find your winter harder and longer than you can endure. Fall is a time for enjoying as well as preparing for what is around the next corner.
When in the winter season (see above definition) this can be a time of despair, discouragement and a loss of faith and hope. It can test your resolve, patience and self-belief and confidence. During this season it is critical that you keep your mind and eye on what lies ahead (spring) and not bogged down in the dark, long, cold and hard days and nights. During winter it is easy to fall prey to what is happening in the moment, but I caution you – one of the best actions you can take is to strengthen your resolve, understanding and patience for what you are going through knowing that it is just part of the ongoing life process and that before you know it spring will arrive.
Are you preparing for the next season?
Here are a few tips to consider regardless of the season you find yourself in at any given life period.
-Always be reading, learning and growing.
-Make no assumptions.
-Don’t take anything personally.
-Don’t let circumstances determine your behavior.
-Always do your best.
-Turn off outside negative influences.
-Surround yourself with the right people.
-Accept that failure and problems are normal.
-Learn to see failure, disappointment and adversity as learning tools.
-Optimism is a better life approach than pessimism.
-Success and achievements do not define you.
-Life is about relationships and not stuff.
-There is no such thing as security.
-Fear is the number one negative influence that must be managed.
-What you believe defines you.
-Your thoughts become circumstances.
-The past is dead – let it go.
-Trust God every minute of every day.
-Be filled with appreciation and gratitude every day.
-You can’t push the river. Relax.
Keep in mind that just because you survive one winter that this doesn’t prevent another winter in the future. Just because you behave appropriately during any season is no guarantee that you will gain the desired benefits of that season. Just because you work hard and plan during spring and summer that you will have a successful harvest in the fall. Life happens and it is our responsibility to learn to flow, strengthen our faith and continue to grow, learning from the circumstances life places on our plates.
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