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A Season of Reflection

As the weather shifts this weekend to cooler temperatures and cloudier skies, it is a good reminder that seasons change.  All seasons change—our favorites come to an end, but so do the ones we find harder to endure.  The natural rhythm of the world around us speaks to what is true about emotional and situational seasons as well.  No matter how hard we try, there is no way to hold on to a particular season of new love or peaceful family life or peak personal health or peaceful vacation or whatever else we wish would last forever.  Likewise, and thankfully, heartbreak and grief and illness and unrelenting job responsibilities don’t last forever either.  

Seasonal change is a great external signal to take an internal inventory.  Take a moment to consider what in life is going well; savor the goodness and practice gratefulness.  Psalm 136 is a great reminder to thank God and to focus on the truth that, while everything else changes, his love remains the same forever.
He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Then also consider what I am anxious to see come to an end; evaluate what can be learned about myself, the world or the Lord in the midst of these circumstances.  Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that everything is seasonal and that God will make all things beautiful in time.  In addition, there is a focus on eternity, and eternal justice, that helps put into perspective even the most difficult issues I face.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

This is also a good time to set goals or otherwise adjust expectations for the next few months.  I like to spend an hour or two thinking and praying through these questions, asking God for his insight, thanking the Lord, and jotting down goals.  If you prefer, the exercise can also be done in shorter moments over several days.  

Start by sitting in a quiet corner of your home or a place to sit outside.  Read the passages from Psalms and Ecclesiastes, writing down thoughts as you read.  List things you are grateful for and things you would like to change.  Thank God for the positive aspects and ask for his wisdom about the negative aspects of life right now.  Take a little more time to think about some goals for the next few weeks or months; what would be good for your body, your mind, your spirit, your relationships?  

After your own time of reflection, you could include your family or a close friend and enjoy some quality time together as you set common goals, celebrate the good, and encourage one another through hardships.  You might each choose a word to help you remember what you learned in the exercise and to focus on your goals for the season.  Post the words where you will see them daily and can ask one another about progress and pray about difficulties.

I pray this season will be one of reflection and quality time with the Lord!

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