Have you ever noticed how much of life is spent transitioning from one season to the next?
I’m not just talking about spring to summer and summer to fall. I mean crawling to walking, then walking to running. Grade school to high school to college.
One day, you’re going on a first date; the next, you’re celebrating your first wedding anniversary. (Or tenth. Or thirtieth.) Today, you’re a busy soccer mom; tomorrow, an empty nester. One moment, you’re interviewing for a new job; the next, you’re planning your retirement.
Granted, some transitions are unwelcome: Financial reversals. Terminal diagnoses. Divorce proceedings. Few of us would willingly choose to walk through such difficulties if there were any way to avoid it.
Yet each season, whether happy or hard, has a common thread: God has a purpose and plan for bringing us through every one of them. He uses every joy to draw us closer to Himself. Every trial to make us more like Christ. Every stage of life to mature us, no matter how grueling or exhausting or mind-numbingly boring our circumstances may seem at the time.
Moreover, each new stage presents us with an opportunity. Every transition represents a season to SHINE.
How do we SHINE in the midst of change? The following five habits will help:
S = Set Goals/ Stay Focused
Don’t let transition periods knock you out of the game. Have you accomplished one goal? Set another. Does the goal you originally set seem impossible to reach under current conditions? Set a smaller goal or make adjustments.
The important thing is to stay focused and keep making forward progress. Let us do as Hebrews 12:1-2 admonishes: “…lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
H = Honor God
Honoring God is not something you can tend to once a week – or even once a day – then mark off your to-do list. Honoring God is an all-encompassing mindset.
1 Corinthians 10:31 commands us, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
We need to make certain whatever goals we set for ourselves align with this first priority. God gives us a reason to burn brightly. Without Him, our season to SHINE becomes dark and meaningless.
I = Invest Wisely
Remember Jesus’s parable of the talents? The workers who invested what the master had entrusted to their care received even more in return. Those who buried their talents lost everything.
In the Bible, talents represented an amount of money, but the principle holds for every resource God gives us. Not only does He expect us to invest our money wisely, but our time, strength, abilities, brains, and artistic giftings, as well.
What do you have in your hand? Like the lad with the loaves and fishes, when we give those things back to God, He will multiply them. (see John 6:9-12) Our job is to be obedient, and leave the results to Him.
N = Nurture Relationships
Think about the people God has placed in your life: spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, coworkers, fellow church members, acquaintances? How can you use whatever time you have with each of these people to nurture them, build them up, and point them to Jesus?
Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” and warns us not to stop “meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,” but to encourage one another continually.
E = Endure to the End
The apostle Paul admonishes us in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we don’t give up.”
And in 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul writes, “Don’t you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Again with the running analogy. We’ve got to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Stay in the race. Pursue lasting results.
Graduation. Retirement. An empty nest. Those things aren’t finish lines. They’re just mile markers. Life, as they say, is a marathon.
Are you still alive? Living and breathing? Heart beating? If so, that means your race isn’t over yet. God still has work for you to do, whether that entails studying for exams, working 9-5, chauffeuring children to and fro – or something entirely new and different.
Regardless what stage of life you find yourself in at the moment, I pray you’ll recognize it for what it is: your season to SHINE.
Want a pretty, printable version of this post? You got it! Just click the image below to download. Put it in a prominent place to remind you to keep shining for God in whatever season you presently find yourself.
Not everyone’s lives are as linear as this. Some people never hit some of these milestones. We are diverse, struggling, valuable whatever our path.
Jennifer Flanders says
Yes, Amy. You are right about that. Life is a gift. We are all created by God for a purpose and have intrinsic value as His image-bearers, no matter what “milestones” we hit or miss.