There is a hazy light at the end of this tunnel. I have been trudging along in the dark, knowing it has to be there. Knowing that peace and clarity are to come.
Transitions are hard and beautiful. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some are shiny and pretty and full of potential. Some are dark and foreboding. They can be quick and sharp. Others are longer and more subtle. We can be walking along, steady and, if we’re not careful, we can emerge as a different person without even meaning to.
This journey with God is ever changing. We have laboring seasons when we are tilling the ground, planting. We have harvest when fruit is abundant and obvious. Our transition seasons can be very quiet and hidden–whether or not they are seen by others.
My transitions have been often marked by a move of some sort. We have moved houses and cities and positions of leadership. And although these are obvious, circumstantial transitions, there is always a motive for growth behind them. There is normally pain and confusion and I have choice. I can choose to become bitter and angry. I can ignore and suppress how I feel. Or I can lean into the pain and seek and press to discover what it is I should be learning.
I’ve been in a hidden, strengthening, growing season. It has been different than moving cities. Or changing ministry position. Although I have circumstantial change happening, that has actually been superseded by the internal process that is occurring. When we allow God to take us into a hidden season, a wilderness season, growth is often slow and rarely obvious to the naked eye. It can seem as though we’re standing still. But there is much work happening on the inside and when we emerge, we look different. We stand stronger. We can withstand wind and storms and the sun shining on us. These growing seasons are pivotal to our lasting a long time on this journey with Jesus.
My current season has it’s unique challenges. My worth with a paying, full time position appeared to be more although I know this is a lie. I am not receiving accolades from anyone. Most of what I do is unseen. In some ways I feel like I’ve taken steps backward. Scrubbing toilets and managing schedules and making dinner are the only set responsibilities to my day. I have no deadlines that are not set by me or our family. No one is forcing me to do anything. I have no “boss” calling me into the office. So in some ways it’s harder. It is all on me. Do I want to grow or do I want to go dormant and soft? I have to choose intentionality with my time. I have to set my own deadlines, knowing this is a season of preparation. I choose progress, knowing that much of what I do will not be seen or affirmed by anyone.
Yet, I have taken steps backward. I have fallen, humble to the ground. More of my worldly desires are dying. I am shedding some rough skin so that I may experience new growth. God knows and sees my worth. His view isn’t tied to accomplishments or how “fruitful” I may or may not appear. He sees the work that is happening on the inside and it is worth far more to Him than any work I will accomplish for Him.
My word for last year was rooted. This year my words are authenticity and vulnerability. Entering the year, I thought these words were for ministry and for my relationships with people. But I’m realizing He actually intended these words for Himself. Am I willing to be authentic and vulnerable with Him? I am finding that the station is not much different than last year’s rooted. Low to the ground. Dusty. Humble.
The hidden, growth seasons are for preparation. God calls His children to isolation, to seclusion even, in order to prepare us for the next season. Even Jesus went through a wilderness season before He began His public ministry. After He was baptized,
“At once the Spirit sent Him out into the wilderness.” Mark 1:12
It is God who provides these wilderness seasons. He needs to grow us up from the inside so that we can withstand the heat, wind, storms, when it’s time to emerge.
This hidden season is also for His main purpose. Everything He does is so that we can know Him better and look more like Him. It is all for our good and for His glory. If there is any pride or self-dependance, He wants us to shed it. We are not strong enough on our own. He knows this.
Isolation periods can feel like punishment. I can twist the thoughts in my mind to convince myself that I have messed all of this up. That I took a wrong turn somewhere and He let me wander off away from Him. I have to remember Who I am. I am His child. My heart is bent toward Him. He won’t let me falter or slip.
In the wilderness…the wilderness that we are all destined to walk through…we have to remember that this is not our home. He has never abandoned us. We are in His protection. Even though we may feel like dry bones lying on the dusty ground, we are in the land of the living. We have not been exiled from His family or His presence. He will not send us anywhere He has not gone before.
He is always with me. He is always with you.
“And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6