Last week I left my oldest at Liberty University. This week I will be leaving my youngest in Germany at boarding school. We are not using the words "empty nest" but basically that is what it is. My husband and I will be returning to Central Asia without the kids, moving to a new city, and I will be teaching at a new school. I think you could call that a new season. Some seasons may be more dramatic than others. You may be figuring out retirement. Your kids are going to a new school or you have decided to homeschool this year. Maybe you are starting a new job or for this season staying home.
New seasons can be exciting but they can also be scary and full of changes that we are not sure we are ready for. Sometimes we choose the new season, and other times it is chosen for us. My prayer is that this new season will be a good one and I will be able to weather the changes gracefully. So as I start this new season, here are a few things that I am trying to remember.
1. Make God a priority.
This is always easier said than done. A new season means my normal routine gets out of whack. Also at the start of something new, I often have trouble focusing and am easily distracted. I need to be intentional in looking to God for wisdom, taking time to worship, and being thankful. God is in the transitions. I just need to look for him there.
One thing that I hope will help with this is a new app called First5 from Proverbs 31 ministries. You can use it as a morning alarm and the alarm ring is actually pleasant to hear first thing in the morning. After turning off the alarm, you can start the first 5 minutes of your day by reading the day's devotion. This week they are starting on the book of Genesis. The devotionals are written by a group of women who take turns writing the devotional for each day and then on the weekends, they do a short video recapping the week.
2. I won't be out of my comfort zone forever.
Obviously a new season means new things. New things mean doing things that feel awkward at first. New routines often result in feeling a little unsure of myself and questioning if I am doing things right. New season bring new relationships where getting to know each other takes time. After a time, I will no longer feel out of my comfort zone, but it will take time. I need to be patient with myself and others during this season.
When we first moved to Central Asia. Everything was awkward. Did I do my greeting right? I got cabbage when I wanted creme. Did I dress right? The cleaning lady couldn't understand what I was saying. Did my teammates like me? Would I be a good fit for the team? Overtime those things were no longer an issue. It just took time and practice.
3. Old Enemies will likely knock on my door.
At different seasons, I have dealt with insecurity and depression. When new seasons start, these old enemies try to come back in my life. They lie and cheat and try to control my emotions. To quote, Lysa Terkeurst, I need to remember that "emotions are indicators not dictators." It is important to not listen to the lies that want to hijack me but read and speak the truth of God's word. It helps that I have some great friends that pray for me and that I can talk to about what is going on in my life.
This last week I have been fighting the enemy of insecurity. Am I good enough? Will I be up to the challenge of this fall? Did I prepare my kids for these next steps? I keep second guessing what I say. I feel a little more uncertain with new people. I find myself having to take every thought captive and to remember whose I am and who I am because of what God did. It helps to journal and spend time in the Psalms. Telling someone about the insecurity also helps as it helps me sort the truth from the lies.
4. I need to be open to new things but not necessarily in a hurry to say yes.
Some new seasons bring extra time and space on my schedule. It is human to want to fill that space with good things. The trouble is sometimes it is easy to say yes because we have time not because it is a good fit or what we are suppose to do.
For example, this spring everyone was asking what I would be doing in the fall with my kids gone. I didn't have an answer. I explored a few options but mostly concentrated on my kids and finishing out their school year. It was when my husband approached the idea of us moving and me teaching at the new school that I knew it was something we needed to look into. After praying about it and discussing the pros and cons, both my husband and I thought it was a good next step.
5. I can't do this on my own.
Which takes me back to #1. I can't do this new season without God. I am so glad that I am not on this journey alone. In God's word, it says.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut 31:8
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. IS 43:2
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Ps 3:5What are some things that have helped you in your new seasons? Are you in a new season? If so what are some things, you are dealing with? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.