One of the most challenging things I've had to come to terms with in my faith is the difficult idea of living through a winter season. When I first became a Christian I noticed some lingo that only Christians tended to use. One of the phrases I overheard was about what season of life are you in? Outside of church I'd never heard of the word or use of 'seasons.' I didn't see life seasonally at all. And to be honest for a fair amount of years being a Christian I didn't really give much thought or care for life working within distinct seasons. It was only when I hit a difficult patch - I mean a really rough patch - that life working in seasons became a great comfort to me.
It was a dear friend, Micah who really sat down and explained this to me. He told me how every season in nature is a mirror to how every person is designed to grow. And even in a season as cold, buried and stripped back as winter, it's designed to propel us into spring and eventually summer. Winter in a person's life is about pruning, the once fresh fading to make way for something brand new. It's not just a poetic or metaphorical idea - but a spiritual reality. The Lord loves to bring us into new realities - He has new dreams and purposes for us - His heart is ALWAYS wired for the good things happening in our lives. But the reality of new things emerging means we have to let go of the old, even when the old still feels good and familiar.
Winter as a season in life looks pretty desolate. For me it felt like survival mode and I couldn't see much external 'fruit' or great things happening on the outside. From the out looking in it wasn't a whole barrel of fun. Things were shrinking. I'd exited from a tech startup I thought was a dream job. I'd lost a lot of money. I had burnout followed by oesophagus cancer. I was exhausted emotionally, spiritually and physically. I couldn't see what was good happening for me next. I was anxious and depressed.
But spiritually what was happening - I was increasingly growing closer to God and needing to rely on Him more. He was taking away false crutches that I had either been relying on or thinking I needed to carry me forwards. He was showing me what was in my heart and what wasn't quite right or trustworthy. It was something that I thought was my dream but actually was somewhat distorted or not entirely healthy. He wanted to show me that was a dream for my future but He'd give me the healthy version that I'd be better equipped to handle further down the line. Micah also reminded me (on many an occasion) that seasons aren't permanent - as a faith filled follower we have a confidence of being able to move onto the next one after winter serves as a season in our lives.