Many of you read my last blog, “What I did with my dust” and there has been an overwhelming response of “me too” flooding my Facebook messenger, text and inbox. I admit, I felt nauseous and not just vulnerable, but NAKED vulnerable when I posted the blog. I really didn’t want to. I sat on it for three weeks, actually. But I know that one of the ways to shift a season is to be obedient to what God is prompting us to do. In other words, put on your big girl panties, step out in faith and just do it - even if you don’t want to or even know why. It’s easy to do what God says when we know it will look good to the outside world and it fits within our comfort zone. But when God asks us to do something vulnerable, transparent and humbling - most people (me included) deflect with excuses and doubts that it was really God at all.
This is the first principle about this topic of how to shift seasons in your life - you have to be willing to get uncomfortable. Ladies, we are not meant to wallow in the depth of our pain and heartaches for longer than the purpose God intended it for. But some of us get really comfortable with the pain (and drama) of our situation or circumstances and we find ourselves stuck in a season. Sometimes we get stuck in unforgiveness, grief, confusion, anger or fear. But God’s word says, “Even though I WALK through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” - it does not say “sit and make fear your friend.” A new season is on the horizon for us, if we are willing to do our part to pursue it and claim it. Let’s talk through how to walk into a new season of joy, abundance, power and purpose.
WHAT WON’T WORK
First let me be clear on what isn’t going to shift our situations. If we want to remain in the current season and circumstances of our lives, all we have to do is be unwilling to get uncomfortable. That’s right, let’s just sit back and refuse to change or challenge our status quo and wait for our circumstances and feelings to miraculously change. I say this because oftentimes, we pray for God to change our circumstances with a hardened heart to do anything different. We become frustrated when he doesn’t miraculously and supernaturally swoop in and make it all better. As a matter of fact, some of us even take it out on God and start to create false beliefs about what God can and can’t do while missing a key ingredient - our free will, our choices, our obedience, our faith - our role in our own destiny. God can do anything. He is the God of miracles. But that doesn’t mean he is going to deliver us out of our dark seasons without us receiving the purpose he intended -which was to work something out or deposit something in us so we become more like Jesus. Just sayin.
UNDERSTAND GOD’S NATURE
God isn’t Burger King, ladies. You can’t have it “your way”. God’s ways are not our ways. His understanding is not our understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3: 5-8)
But here is what I know from God’s word about God’s ways.
- He will not ask us to do anything that will bring destruction to our lives. He is good all the time.
- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- He won’t ask us to do anything that will take us away from our purpose.
- “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)
- He will never ask us to do anything that he has not given us the strength and ability to do.
- Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- The temptations of your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 (Corinthians 10:13)
- We will never be without provision for the journey.
- “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24)
SET UP SAFE BOUNDARIES
In my season of healing and transition, God began to prompt me through feelings of conviction and inner revelation to set up safe boundaries in my life. I want to draw your attention to the importance of the meanings we attach to words. The meaning you attach to a word has the power to draw you in or push you away from accepting it. For me, boundaries are not restrictions, but rather guardrails that keep me from going over the cliff and hurting myself and others. Boundaries are for my safety and to guide me in a straight path and keep me out of the wilderness. Plainly put, I get where I want to go faster, safer and with less drama when I have boundaries in place.
What meaning do you associate with boundaries? Does that meaning serve you?
My personal boundaries in this season of my life include not drinking alcohol (and for those who know me well, this is like hell freezing over), not watching network television (except This is Us on my phone APP) and not dating. These boundaries have opened up a crazy amount of time I use to think I didn’t have to read, pray, reflect and just be present to what God has for me. With the free time I have created by eliminating my time wasters, I am reading the bible in one year, writing more, praying more, listening to podcasts and reading amazing books that fill my mind and spirit with truths. With no alcohol, I don’t find myself in a bar flirting or partaking in gossip or lamenting over my own situation with words that tear down instead of build up my life.
God has also prompted me to give more than I ever have. So, in a season where I have less than I ever have financially, I am being challenged to give from a place of lack because that requires trust in God. Some would say, “this is all pretty extreme, Amber. I don’t think I could do one of those things, let alone all of those things.” Well, I understand that. That’s why God may not be nudging you to do any of these things. But friend, I am praying for a new season in my life and I have told God, I will do anything. I am open, humble and full of faith that God is the only one who knows where I am going and I am ready for the road map.
God is always looking for someone who is ready to do His will. He is ALWAYS ready. I am ready and from that readiness comes a willingness to be obedient to what he says I need to do. Where are you at? Are you willing? Are you ready for what God has to say to you about how to get to your new season?
Any time we want to transition to a new season in life, it is going to require sacrifice in our current season. Look at Jesus. Our entire Christian faith hinges on the sacrifice of Jesus. When he bore our sins and our shame by hanging on the cross, his sacrifice is what restored what was lost in the garden of Eden. His wounds are what freed us from the bondage of sin and delivered us into eternal life with our Father. This sacrifice signified the end of one season and the arrival of a new season that changed the course of eternity. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We are his joy. His sacrifice was for us. And it changed everything.
What do you need to endure for the joy set before you? What are you asking God to change, restore or bring into your life and what are you willing to do to get it? Because maybe, just maybe, the reason things feel stuck and stagnant is you are waiting for God to show up without adjusting your life to the reality you are asking him for.
I see this so often with women in their health journey.
- They are “really committed” to getting healthy this time - food, mind, emotions, exercise, water - until they get worn down and it becomes inconvenient.
- They are “all-in” until they find their expectations are not being met by the scale or how their clothes are fitting.
- They are “on board”, until they get together with some friends who are not on the “healthy” bandwagon and they start to feel like an outcast.
- They are “walking the talk” when people are looking and watching, but they check-out when they are by themselves.
- They are “committed” to the process until that commitment bumps up against the bigger commitment to be comfortable and comforted.
- They want the results and the “new season”, but they are unwilling to do what is required when it starts to feel like a sacrifice.
I want to encourage you with the truth. Those of you who know me (even just a little) know I am not here to give you some warm and fuzzy idea of what it takes to shift things in your life. I am living the “shift” and there is very little warm and fuzzy going on over here. But I will tell you this - when we get in agreement with God and His purpose for us (not our ideas and our plans) and we align our thoughts and behaviors to it - CRAZY AWESOME things happen. I have enough evidence in my life as I look over the last 40 years that I no longer trust my plans and my ways. I only want God’s plan for my life. But with his plan, comes his process and I have a role to play in that process and the same goes for you. “Many are the plans in a person’ heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21)
WE HAVE ALL WE NEED
Whatever God asks us to do, he will give us the strength, resources, favor, courage, etc. to do it. He never sets us up to be embarrassed or ill-equipped. The enemy wants to plant fear and doubt in our minds about God’s goodness, faithfulness and intentions. But the enemy is a liar. God’s word is true. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Sometimes instead of focusing on getting out of our current season, we look to things in life to make us feel better in our season (food, alcohol, relationships, status, money, etc.), but the function does not fit the purpose. These things were never designed to make us whole, give us purpose, move us forward or bring us peace. So we get stuck in seasons of misusing our resources while we are listening to our own voice (or the enemy’s lies) instead of the voice of God. In these seasons, we find ourselves surrounded by mediocrity or crippled by survival mode or drowning in addictions, obsessions and strongholds. We don’t need more of what the world tells us we need - we need more of God’s presence, wisdom and love.
Take a moment and let’s allow God speak to us. Let’s ask ourselves:
- What have I been putting off that deep down, I know I need to confront and deal with? Maybe it’s some tough decision that you have been putting off for way too long because of the fear of the unknown. Remember who God is - He’s bigger than your fear. Tough decisions are mostly likely going to be required to shift a season.
- What has God been asking you to let go of? Perhaps it’s anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, a false identity, your comfort zone, excuses, habits, etc. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to let go of what we are anchored to and walk forward in faith.
- What are the boundaries that will provide protection and structure for God’s blessings to come into your life? Without boundaries, it can be very easy to take good things and turn them into curses by overuse or misuse. Boundaries keep your blessings secure and keep your moving forward on purpose.
You have more discernment than you know. Don’t speak off the nudge you feel. Don’t dismiss the feelings of guilt. Guilt is not to condemn you, it is designed to CONVICT you of what you should and should not do. I want to encourage you to get on board with the lover of your soul. “He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9)
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1) It’s easy to praise and give thanks when you are getting what you want in life, but when you are going through a season of uncertainty and pain, can you still open your mouth and give thanks to the God who holds it all in his hand? Too numerous are the times I cried out to him from my pain with tears streaming down my face, as I sang in a shaky voice the words from a worship song about God’s faithfulness in the storm. Many times my praise to the Lord felt like a sacrifice during my season of disappointment. But here’s the promise, “He will wash away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) So with that hope, we can life our eyes to the one who knows our beginning from our, who is working it all out for our good, and who wants nothing more than everything we are. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
A new season is on the horizon for you. The Lord is never early, and he’s also never late. His timing is perfect. He loves you too much to do anything but the right thing at the right time.
My purpose and calling is to empower women on their health journey through physical, emotional and spiritual education and encouragement. If you are looking for an online community of women to connect with, I would love for you to check out The Healthy Edge. Included is a new monthly online food prep workshop, an informative and uplifting online chat every Sunday evening with me, Amber, a weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox every Monday, hundreds of online healthy recipes, an archive of audio health series and so much more. This is an incredible way to walk the path to discovering the healthiest version of yourself with people who love Jesus or are searching for answers. If you would like to try my community free for 7 days, click here.