The Seasons of Life
October 12, 2021
When we talk about a season of the year we are referring to a period of the year that is distinguished by special climate conditions. The four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—follow one another regularly. Here in Ohio each one has its own light, temperature, and weather patterns that repeat yearly.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. Fall is remarkably crisp and beautiful. Living here in Sugarcreek gives me a daily firsthand display of the changing colors on the hillsides, meadows, and pastures. Honesty, many times I am overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s autumn ideas.
I often tell people that why I love to live in Ohio is because of the four seasons here, each in their own style and glory.
Now having the four seasons means change; each season comes and brings something different. Winter kills the insects and replenishes the earth, which allows us to have a beautiful spring. Spring brings rain that waters the plants and prepares the trees, bushes, and flowers to flourish. Summer is breathtaking with the growth of plants, flowers, vegetables, and animals. Fall means harvest and rejoicing in the fruits of the year. Then we begin again with winter.
So it is in life. Like the seasons of nature, there are also personal seasons.
Winter is a time to rest, relax, and prepare. Sometimes winter makes things look hopeless and out of control. Physically and symbolically we face winter either prepared or unprepared. If you have done things in proper timing and are prepared, winter might be easy, and you can rest. But if winter comes without preparation, you may have a crisis on your hands.
During your personal winter, take time to think, reflect, plan, and develop your skills and knowledge. Read, connect with mentors, get good advice, and plan to use it for a better year ahead. On the really wintry days, remember that spring and renewal are just around the corner. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Your success during autumn depends on how you prepare now for the colder weather.
Spring is a time to act, risk, and take opportunities. When it’s the literal season of spring, we plant seeds with hope. In our spiritual and emotional spring, we must take the window of opportunity to plant seeds by meeting new people, trying new things, and taking risks. You can’t take advantage of opportunities without risk. If you want to skip the risk, you will have to skip the opportunity. Specific seed-planting in spring is necessary for success in the fall.
So get busy in the spring. Put the plans you made in winter into action, work hard, give your best, and don’t give up because you want a quick harvest. That doesn’t happen until another season. Desire for immediate gratification will kill your reward. Keep the big picture in mind and keep on going.
Summer is the time to nourish and protect. Your yard and garden begin to show the results of your efforts. Success in any part of life requires consistent effort and facing and overcoming obstacles. Even when you are starting to see results, it isn’t time to relax. You have to weed, fertilize, and get rid of insects and rodents that would destroy your plants. Your plants need protection and nourishment. Protect your crop from weeds and pests.
You need to consistently apply what you learned during winter. Enjoy the momentum you are experiencing, but don’t get lazy. Think of the end goal. Sacrifice small and quick pleasure to achieve greater and long-lasting happiness. And remember that this is great, but winter WILL come again.
Fall is the time to reap. Fall is the moment of truth. Our decisions come home to roost in the fall. We either enjoy our harvest or excuse our failures. Fall brings the result of your efforts. If you’ve done well in the other three seasons, you will see results that are even greater than the effort you put in. If you got lazy, procrastinated, and didn’t take the responsibility seriously, fall will have many disappointments. You reap what you sow. It applies to everyone.
You have to save some of your harvest for winter when things are tough. In the fall we determine how difficult the winter will be. Take responsibility for your harvest. Celebrate your success and accept your disappointments. If your harvest was not what you wanted or hoped, reflect on the past seasons and how you handled yourself. Figure out how to do it better next time around.
In all the seasons, we have personal responsibility. We cannot blame circumstances or other people for our failures. It comes back to us. We cannot change the seasons, but we can change ourselves. Our actions are our own to choose and control. Choosing well in each season makes each season beautiful and enables a great life.