Anyone who has known me long enough knows that fall is my favorite season of the year. There’s football, pumpkin spice lattes, cool weather, baseball playoffs, Christmas merchandise at Target (several months early), the ability to wear anything in your closet without being too hot or cold, the start of the NBA season, the NC Renaissance Festival, and the best part of it all: the feeling of change. Oh, and did I say Pumpkin Spice lattes?
Fall represents, in many ways, the end of a year and the transition into the next. We see beautiful leaves on the trees as they go from green to orange, red, and yellow. But if we are really paying close attention, we will realize that this beauty would not be possible if it were not for the “end”.
Maybe you are like me and you see many seasons in your own life starting to change dramatically in front of your eyes. If you are indeed like me, this is not as beautiful to behold as watching the leaves change. In fact, this can be very painful and can leave you grasping for something to hold on to.
I love sports.
This year has been a very unique year as I watch some of my favorite athletes begin to age and even leave the sport where they gained their popularity. Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves has always been one of my favorite baseball players, but 2012 was his last season cleating up for his only MLB club. David Beckham, my favorite soccer player and icon, is gradually coming to an end of an illustrious career that has claimed many records and multiple league cups. As we see in sports and in life, the changing of seasons can come more suddenly than you expected and can leave you wondering what the next phase of your life holds.
I have never felt more vulnerable and out of control than I do at this stage in life. I’m 29, I’m still striving to do something creative as a career (without success as of yet), and I sometimes reflect on the past decade with a feeling of loss and regret. To be honest, I don’t feel that I deserve to write anything about this topic since I am powerless to change my “seasons”, but then again, why not discuss what I’m learning in the pain of the transition? Maybe it can help someone else grapple with the tough feelings and restlessness that comes with change.
Here’s a nugget that God impressed on me in the shower yesterday morning (actually true): stop trying to impress the people in your life who don’t matter.
There was a guy in Los Angeles who I really admired and looked up to for a time when I was striving to become an actor. He was in the film industry, having success, and really seemed to be supportive of my dreams as well. But as my life fell apart and I moved back to Charlotte, his support very clearly became the whole, “Andrew tried, but he’s not meant for this industry.” And maybe he was right, but maybe he was wrong. God knows in the end. But I digress; here’s my point: there has been this little nagging desire to prove to this guy that I can “make it” in the film industry. It sounds very immature and ridiculous, but I’m just sharing my heart in hopes that maybe you can identify with this.
I see this guy on Facebook and I sometimes think about reaching my dreams, him seeing that I’ve reached this imaginary point of success, and him suddenly wanting to be in my inner circle of friends again. But what’s hilarious is this: I don’t think I would actually want to be close friends with him again! It’s not that I am still bitter towards him, but sometimes a change of season means moving on from relationships where a true friendship was never cultivated.
What’s my point?
Glad you asked. Here it is:
Why strive so hard to hold on to a season in life or to reach a dream that is passed to impress or please people who we don’t really even care deeply for in the first place?
A better way to summarize is by asking you the same question I have to ask myself: what are we trying to prove when God knows what He has in store for us and He has the best in mind for our lives?
Many of you know the following verse, but please take some time to meditate on this for a moment:
“’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Maybe you aren’t trying to revive a dream that once was; maybe you’re just trying to survive. Life might be so difficult for you right now that you are praying that a new season DOES come. Either way, these feelings can leave you with a sense of loss and fear if you are not able to release them to the God who knows all things and can change your circumstances with just a breath. Ultimately, seeking God and pouring out our need for Him to deliver us is our best move and it’s devestatingly the last thing we tend to consider.
As life changes around you (and it will, constantly), I encourage you to seek God’s face for His vision and His heart for your life. There is no one else in this life whose opinion of you matters more and He is a jealous God, longing to have all of your heart and soul.