Life is full of seasons other than spring, summer, fall and winter. Childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; single, dating, engaged and married. We have healthy and unhealthy seasons, ones of flourishing and of pruning, and every high and low in between. I’ve been one to say I’m in a season of waiting just as often as I say I’m in a season of going. Too often, we lose sight of the present season for looking too much on the seasons past or future. Let’s take some time this week to be honest about our seasons – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally – and learn to savor and soak in where we are now.
Freedom From Comparison
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live, obey, love and believe right there.
1 Corinthians 7:17 (The Message)
I think it’d be a lie if any of us were to say we’ve never compared our lives to someone else’s. Why are they getting married and I’m not? Why did they get that new promotion while my job has stayed the same for years? Why are they moving into that new house while I’m still here? Why are they having a baby and I can’t?
It can be painful to watch people walk through seasons that are different from our own, especially when they are walking through a season that we deeply desire to experience.
My senior year of college, I spent a lot of weekends going to bridal showers, teas, and weddings of dear friends. If there were ever moments free of some kind of wedding activity for one friend, there was a ring being given to another friend. I threw parties and showers and bought gifts while quietly wondering when it was my turn. Comparison tempted me towards competition, and competition always threatens to contaminate the purity of a community.
It wasn’t until after a summer full of weddings when I was halfway around the world missing one of my best friends’ weddings that I realized how beautiful our different seasons were. She was celebrating with family and friends, gaining a partner for life to follow Jesus with. Other friends were celebrating the beginning of their final year of school; some were mourning the season of college passing, others were walking almost blindly into a new job in a new city, and still more were wondering when their job applications would finally lead to an interview. Our seasons were drastically different, and there were parts of each of them that were easy to look on with envious eyes. But to compare our season to someone else’s robs up of the joy, life, and wisdom in our own.
God never uses one approach to get His job done in the world. He has put you in a unique season that sings a unique song that only another heart can hear clearly. To wish you were in another person’s season not only robs you of what He has for you but can also rob another human of what God has meant for you to share with them.
Instead of comparing my season with those of my friends, I’ve learned that I must learn from them. Each of our seasons brings unique wisdom and perspective that is meant to be shared. To tell the truth, sometimes it really is painful. To tell a bigger truth though? Learning from the unique seasons of others instead of comparing mine to them, especially the ones I am so desperately wanting to be in, allows me to live in my current season more freely and honestly. And when we live freely and honestly in our different seasons – joy and pain included – the gospel comes to life in us and others around us.