I love Autumn! It is one of my favourite seasons of the year. The somewhat cooler days, the clear blue skies, and the glorious colours of the leaves.
Nicole and I moved back to Melbourne last May after 18 months of living in the Sunshine Coast. We love Queensland but one of the things we missed were the seasons. I remember Nicole saying to me one day after 6 weeks of continuous sunshine and 32 degree days – “I really miss the rain!” Then when we were driving into Victoria, the first thing we noticed were the beautiful autumn leaves everywhere. We were coming back ‘home’. Yes, we have fallen in love with Melbourne … again.
Our time away was vital for us. It was like a long drink at the fountain, a place to re-fresh and re-fuel, a time to re-calibrate and transition into this new chapter of our lives. I am deeply grateful for it. It was part of my ongoing metamorphosis – of becoming who I truly am, apart from the various roles and responsibilities I have had for so many decades.
Today, I want to review some thoughts I shared back in 2015 about ‘seasons’. Take some time to read the story of the apostle Paul when he was about to leave the church at Ephesus. It’s recored for us in detail in Acts 20:13-38. Here are my observations:
Life is a Journey with Many Seasons
Paul grew up as a strict Pharisee, committed to his Jewish faith and its legal requirements. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), his life was radically changed and he became an apostle to the Gentiles, sharing the gospel of Jesus to people from every strata of society. He ended up basing at the church in Antioch from where he travelled out on a number of church-planting missionary journeys (Acts 13). Eventually, he re-located to Ephesus where he had three years of his most fruitful ministry. This episode in his life shows us his transition away from Ephesus towards his eventual destination of Rome, the centre of the Roman Empire.
Paul’s time in Ephesus was about to come to an end. His life, like ours, was a journey with many different seasons, a story with many different chapters, much like a movie with many different scenes. Time is a constant as everything continually moves forward and is continually changing. We can’t control or stop the seasons, which are under God’s control (Ecclesiastes 3:1). However, we can decide how we will respond to the circumstances and the seasonal movements in our life.
In his book The Making of a Leader, leadership expert Robert Clinton says that each person that God uses goes through a common journey with different phases – sovereign foundations, ministry maturing (a primary focus on ‘doing’), life maturing (a greater focus on ‘being’), convergence, and then afterglow. There are many tests and incidents along the way – both positive and painful. There is benefit in stopping and reflecting on your journey. Life is lived forward but often understood backward.
Take some time to reflect on your life. Look back … where have you come from, where are you now, where are heading? What is God up to? What are incidents that have shaped who you are today? What have you learned? What season are you in right now?
P.S. If you haven’t already, have a read of my poem entitled ‘Seasons‘.