September 13, 2013
When Change is Hard
"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time." Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NLT)
There's a cluster of photos in my living room that I love. They've been there for almost 20 years and tell our family's story: pictures of my kids' first steps, vacations, and graduations. The other day as I was dusting, our son's baby photo caught my eye. Well, not so much the picture, but the old frame around it.
Though our furniture and décor tastes have changed in 20 years, our picture frames haven't. So I decided to give my photos a facelift by swapping the old frames with up-to-date ones.
When I placed the almost 20-year-old photo in the new frame, the picture took on a whole new look. Though the photo didn't change, the reframing altered how I viewed it.
Redecorating brought to mind a season in which God did some serious work in my own life. Life changes caused me to put a "new frame" around my calling, so I could view this time with God's perspective, not mine.
You see, I had felt sure God called me to minister to women. Whenever I had the opportunity to do so, my heart overflowed. Though my days were often long and complicated, I somehow felt more energized by serving in my calling.
Over time, however, doors in women's ministry at my church were closing. These transitions were healthy and good for the church, but they left me feeling like part of my dream and calling had died.
I prayed for God to show me His will and sensed He had something on the horizon, but I couldn't see any tangible open doors to serve with women at my church. It turned out, He had other plans for me. Plans that helped me see this season, not as one of letting go and sadness, but of exciting new opportunities and joy.
God stretched me beyond my comfort zone. Instead of serving women locally, He called me to serve globally in Burundi, Africa. Though this wasn't my "sweet spot" in ministry, my leadership abilities grew by leaps and bounds. Not only that, but with my free time, I took classes in a totally new profession which allowed me to help women in a fresh way. I learned and absorbed everything I could.
Perhaps you are facing a season of change and would be encouraged by some "reframing" and a fresh perspective. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has made everything beautiful "for its own time." God has designed our lives into beautiful seasons, but there is a time limit on each one.
Some seasons are wide-open doors for our passions and calling … and some seasons are closed doors when God asks us to grow spiritually, professionally, relationally, or maybe emotionally.
A question that helped me in the season of waiting for my dream of working with women was, what does this time make possible? For every season, God has a purpose for us. During mine, closed doors made continuing education possible. Closed doors allowed me to travel to Africa twice. Closed doors helped me grow by ministering in a different culture.
What about you? Do you feel like you are in a closed-door season? Ask God what this new time makes possible for you. Join a Bible study. Serve at a school. Mentor a young person. Pursue a dream. Take a class to help you develop professionally. These are all new frames you can put around this season of change.
Father, thank You for the rhythm You have woven into our lives. I am grateful for this past season and recognize that You have made it beautiful in Your time. I am grateful for the upcoming season and ask You to give me a confident expectation. Amen.
Does your season of life allow time to pursue a dream? Perhaps a dream to write? If so, we invite you to learn more about Compel, a membership site for influencers who want to write words that move people. Click here for more information.
Settle your wondering mind with the peace found in the truths of Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living, 100 devotions written by women from every walk of life!
Hop over to Lisa Allen's blog for more encouragement and leadership wisdom!
Reflect and Respond:
Is there anything in this season causing you fear or anxiety over the transition? Write a Bible verse on a note card and tuck it in your car, on your windowsill or your clothes dryer to remind you about God's perspective on this new season.
Ask God what this new season makes possible for you, and then take action!
Daniel 2:21, "He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." (ESV)
Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (NLT)
© 2013 by Lisa Allen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105