One of the funniest parts about living in Orlando and working for Disney, is the fact that in the parks it is now full on fall. My dear Danielle and I were chuckling at the fact that the Jack-o-Lanterns are out and the fall leaves are on display, in 90 plus degree Florida weather. I love the changing of the seasons, it always comes just at the right moment. It makes me think about life, and I feel like we all go through seasons. Some seasons are better than others, think about some of your favorite times of year. I love the crisp fall air and the general color of orange all around. There’s just something about watching a spooky cartoon and eating candy that makes me jump back to memories in my mind. We go through great moments in our lives, moments that we cherish and remember forever. Then, there are the seasons of hardship. While I don’t hate summer, I think about the time I was burned terribly during a summer camping trip with the Boy Scouts. I always shudder slightly when I prepare to go to the beach in summer, because of the pain that happened in the past.
The interesting thing that I’ve noticed about seasons, is that in both the positive and negative moments, good comes from both.
Hang with me for a moment, and believe me when I say there are dark moments in life that I wish I could forget. The thing is, these dark moments cause us to grow and learn to trust on God for all we need. I mentioned some light-hearted stories above, but both caused me to learn. One showed me the simple joys of life and the other taught me the importance of being prepared for the situations I enter into. While those are very surface, you might be facing something difficult. I want to talk about the importance of knowing that in every season, Jesus is there, he’s with you in the joyful moments and the moments where you feel like you can’t go on. In all seasons, you are loved, and you have a God fighting with you in all things.
Remember the past, but don’t let it enslave you.
One of the strangest times in my life was when I went to a funeral and wedding in one day. In 2015, on Easter Sunday, I found out that my friend Seth had taken his own life. Seth was a year older than me, and one of the first people in my life that helped me see I could be who God made me to be, he was one of the first people that invited me to be in a small group and showed me how to love people. Like all of us though, he struggled, drugs had started to take over his mind and one night he took his own life, in an instant this beautiful soul was gone. I went to his funeral at a gorgeous Methodist church, where I was able to talk to the family, I was thankful for my brother in law Timothy who was there with me. I remember being confused and angry, but heartbroken.
I then drove ten minutes to the wedding of my dear friends Jeremy and Becky. It was another beautiful picture of love, two people choosing to be together forever in all things. Complete with laughter and dancing, celebrating a new chapter of life. In one day, I saw the beginning of a new season of life and the ending of another.
The reason I share this, is because these are two seasons that are on different ends of the spectrum. I think about Seth regularly, and have made a choice to be open about mental health and dealing with depression in a safe way. I think about the joy that life brings as well, to hold the people you love close. When it comes to the seasons we are in, cling to the good that comes from the past. I remember the joy of life, even in the hardship of losing someone close, I remember the things Seth showed me and the love his family still had even after his passing. We must remember the past, because it makes us who we are, but we cannot let the past control where we go. We make mistakes, learn and grow, do better than you did before. Don’t let the past dictate how you move forward. If people try to hold that past over you, let it go, in Christ you are made new. Enter the next season hopeful for what God will do.
Trust God with the future, worrying never helps.
It’s easy to be in a season, and just try to rush to what’s next. I’m guilty of this for sure, you just want to move on into what you really need to be prepared for first. I’m a pastor, but I don’t work in a church. There have been many moments where I just want to be in ministry and have gotten frustrated when people won’t give me a chance, the truth is, God’s timing is better than what I plan for. I’m in a place where I am learning so much, and I’m surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever met. I mean, I’m learning from arguably the most successful companies ever. I don’t want to miss what God is showing me in this current season because it isn’t exactly what I had planned for. Worrying about the future never helps, it just clouds your vision of what is right in front of you. God has a plan for your life, will there still be tough moments? Of course, but these moments will shape you into a better, stronger person.
I think about marble sculptures. Every sculpture begins as a shapeless form. I’ve been able to see Michelangelo’s, Pietà, in person. It began as a block of stone, but after chipping away pieces at a time, it became a masterpiece. The same happens in our life, the old is chipped away, and while it hurts, what is revealed is the true masterpiece underneath. Trust God, he is making you into a masterpiece.
Whatever season you are in, God’s doing something inside you. You might not have a relationship with God, but are interested. I’m thankful you’ve read this, and if you want a relationship with God, it’s really simple. You just start. God’s waiting for you, just choose to trust him. Know that, yeah you have a past, but God wants you. Just choose to let him in and start reading his word, it will radically transform your life. You may have been walking with God for years, you are also in a season of growth, I believe we never stop growing when we walk with God. Love the season you are in, even if it’s good, bad, or ugly. God loves you and is with you in the mountaintop moments and the low valleys life throws at you. Let your past be a picture of how God has saved you and see your future as an open door for God to move you.
Embrace your season, because good will come from the way God moves in it.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__
When I write on topics like anxiety and depression, I know how dark life can seem. I know that you feel alone and hurt, but there is hope. There is always someone there for you and I never want you to feel like you have no other option. If you are feeling suicidal thoughts, I want you to call this number (844) 359-6685
There is always hope, and your life has value. You are so worth loving.