4 Lessons for Navigating the Seasons of Life
- Sarah Coleman Author
- 2015 27 Jan
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Every year the world goes through seasons. Some more dramatic than others. Our lives mimic these patterns; we too pass through seasons.
But change is not always easy, especially when it means a transition into difficulty or the unknown.
Jesus was more than aware of seasons. His life and ministry varied through seasons and challenges. He experienced seasons of miracles and seasons of teaching. Seasons of favor with men, and seasons where he was abandoned by all but a few.
In Luke 5:33-39 a group of people questioned Jesus about seasons. Well, on the surface the question was about fasting, but dig deeper and it was about seasons. They commented, "John's disciples are in a season of fasting, yet your disciples are in a season of feasting. Why?"
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Jesus answered by telling three stories. In the first parable, Jesus explained that in life there are seasons. Some seasons require feasting, others require fasting; seasons of abundance and seasons of struggle. Neither is better than the other.
The second parable explained the importance of enjoying your current season. You will destroy the season if you cut it up and sew it onto the old. Don't wish for the past or longingly pine for a better future. Enjoy the season you are in.
And in the third parable, Jesus said, "When a new season comes, change."
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins” (Luke 5:37-38).
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It sounds easy and obvious, but sometimes changing wineskin is harder than it seems.
It was for me.
I was single for what felt like forever, but I enjoyed the season (most of the time). I was heavily involved in youth ministry and loved to travel. Life was fun and exciting. Now I am a mother, I don't travel so often or socialize like I used to. But there are other pleasures to enjoy in this new season. Neither is better than the other, they are different seasons.
But my struggle was not in recognizing the season, it was in the changing.
The joy and experience of children was certainly new wine. And for a while I was trying to fit it into the old me; the old wineskin of who I was. But it didn't work. I kept bursting.
I thought it was me. I thought I could not cope. I thought I was a failure.
It was my old wineskin.
I was attached to my old skin. It came at a price. I struggled so much to find myself, but I got there and hit my thirties with confidence and sass. My old wineskin worked.
For old wine.
Not new wine.
Perhaps you feel the same? Like you're trying to fit your current life into an old wineskin. And you keep bursting. You're blaming yourself, but it isn't your fault. It's your skin. You just need to change wineskin.
Here's what I've learned:
Don't mix a little of the new with a little of the past. Change. For me it meant meditating on Luke 5:38-39 and mumbling under my breath, "I am a new wineskin," for days. When I got it, the freedom was instant.
It is Not Going to Be the Same
You will have to learn new things. I had to employ new strategies as a mother. It wasn't always smooth sailing. Adjusting to the new never is.
You Will Cope
As a new wineskin, you can be confident that when challenges come, you will cope. You won't burst. You were made for the new wine. That is so very reassuring.
You know what? I did it. I emerged from the cocoon, a new wineskin, ready for new wine. My old skin served me well, but it had to give way to new, yet slightly-more-wrinkled-with-dark-circles-under-my-eyes skin.
Why Drink the Old When You can Drink the New?
Some people think the old is good enough. They are happy to settle for what is comfortable. But you were made for more than comfortable. God wants to enlarge you and pour out far over and above all you could ever ask or imagine. You were made for new wine.
Isn't it time you shed your skin? The old skin served you well, but it is not who you are any more. This is a new season. With new wine to drink. Time for a new you. Like the old you, only better.
Oh, and by the way, there will be more seasons, more new wine. When God births a new season, you don't want to lag behind: change wineskin and prepare for the new.
God, I am ready. Pour it out. I am a new wineskin.
If it's time for you to change wineskins be sure to leave a comment.
I'm Sarah Coleman, an Aussie passionate about Jesus & family. Through blogs and books I minister life and encouragement. Download my FREE eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want To. Find more of my thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.
Publication date: January 27, 2015