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Search Out Your Season

Man, oh man. Never has it been so difficult to settle into my season than when I've decided to write about it. Every little thing triggers a dream or a hope or a plan set off far in the future, making my mind race with faraway thoughts. How can I savor today when I'm living for tomorrow? Tough question.

On Saturday, I touched on the idea of being aware of your season. Digging around in it to find the ups and downs, the ins and outs, both the highs and the lows. Feel it out, spread your arms wide and find the boundaries, the places where you feel you hit a wall and the places you are able to soar. All are important parts of this journey. 

One of the tools that has been most helpful to me in recent weeks is an e-book by Ashley Beaudin, 33 Questions to Ask Your Heart.  A few I had heard in another form or fashion, but many struck a new --and much needed-- cord. With her permission, I get to share a handful of these questions with you and give you a glimpse into where I find myself today.

3 of 33 Questions to Ask Your Heart

2. What gives you life + what takes life from you?
In my original notes about savoring your season, I said it was important to ask the question "what is encouraging you in this season?" and "what discourages you from savoring where you are?" The follow up was something like, "What steps can you actively take to pursue these things or release these things?" Ashley is spot on here.

In this season, being in community encourages me, but my lack of community can also be discouraging. I went from living deeply entrenched in Christ-centered community, meeting regularly with people who lived Acts 2:42-47 intentionally and creatively, to living alone in a new city with a new job and an entirely new routine. My community has shifted. In ways I am still searching for it. But it has been in these past three months that the blogging community has come to mean SO much to me, and I have found more support and sweetness there than I ever imagined. Here at OSU, I've found friendships through YoungLife and in the theatre department, even though something in my soul is still searching. God has been faithful and has provided along the way.

Blogging itself has been a sweet place that is so life giving, but when I start to strive and stress about statistics it can be very draining. On my drive home this weekend, I listened to podcasts from last year's Influence Conference and Hayley Morgan described striving as trying to pull the good things toward you by your own strength and in your own time, instead of walking with God in His will, peace, and time toward those things together. I have to do a heart check here. Being aware makes all the difference.

9. Is your heart thriving or is it wrestling?
Yikes. This is literally the heart check I have been avoiding. Or maybe the question I didn't know to ask. It is easy for me to proclaim a thriving season over my life, but sink back into the mess and let the days pass by. In some moments I feel like I am thriving, fully embracing the now and seeking Jesus in the moment, and in the next I will be wrapped up in a petty moment of frustration or concerned about something trivial. My heart is wrestling with the idea of savoring my season, and with my relationship with Jesus, because part of me is believing the lie that I should have this figured out by now.

Can I repeat that this is a LIE? I'm using one of those dangerous "should be" phrases that needs to be tossed out the window. I haven't missed the boat, and I haven't backtracked. I haven't disappointed Him beyond repair, and I haven't made such a misstep that all the previous work is discounted. I may be in the middle of a mess, but it's in the mess that He meets me. When I'm wrestling with my current situation, my job, my fears, my dreams even, it's okay. I don't have to have it all figured out or make it neat and tidy. Life doesn't work that way. It is okay --and it is powerful-- to see what is happening in my heart and confess that it feels more like wrestling than thriving. When I admit my weakness, He can make it into something beautiful. He can do that for you too, friend.

25. If you could sit down and be 100% honest, what would you say? What would you do? How would you feel?
This is one that is going straight into my journal in the morning. I have a lot of wrestling to do with the thoughts that rose to the surface when I read this question, and I need to hash them out with Jesus before brining them up here.

If you're looking for a place to start digging into your season, try some of these questions. Do a heart check. Ashley is a fire starter and a world-class encourager, and this book is one I will treasure (and return to) for years to come. According to her, "transformation starts at the table of honest conversations and hard questions." Let's pull up a chair together, and get to the heart of the matter.

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