The changing seasons in New England are gorgeous. Fall is one of my favorites, with all the leaves setting the skyline on fire with color. Winters can be a little long and cold, but as I learned after my first snowfall here, you layer up and wait for spring. There’s nothing like snuggling up in a blanket with my laptop to write as snow falls softly out the window.
Seasons are each unique, charming, and challenging in their own way. Life’s seasons can be the same. My youthful innocence held the peace of unfettered responsibility along with a struggle to learn identity, life skills, and a sense of belonging among peers. The season of parenting meant the joy of holding my precious babies in my arms but also such sleep deprivation that I could barely function at times. My husband and I are heading into a new season of our children becoming grown men where we see the fruit of what we’ve worked hard to develop within them, but with a sadness that they will soon be leaving the nest.
In seasons we learn and grow as God uses it to mature and mold our character. We pass through them and come out stronger for it. However, it can be challenging to distinguish whether we are in a season or a cycle.
One of the more famous cycles, the Crazy Cycle, termed by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in the book Love and Respect, is where a woman seeks love, but a man seeks respect and vice versa. When the woman is feeling unloved, she reacts by acting without respect toward her husband. He feels her disrespect and, in turn, acts unloving toward his wife. They end up in a vicious cycle of unloving and disrespecting, with hurts building upon hurts.
Cycles go around and around, repeating the same thing seemingly without end. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re in a cycle until we’re so dizzy, we lose our lunch and with it the nutrients that our souls and lives need. Cycles seem like they should be easy to break—just stop and get off. But often, we’re stuck. It can feel like the seatbelt button won’t release or centrifugal force is holding us in place. We’re not learning from our past and keep repeating the same mistakes.
Dance instructors will teach their students how to spot a turn and not become dizzy. As they spin, the dancer will keep their eye on one spot until their neck strains. Then they whip their head around, locking eyes on that same spot. When we’re in the spin of a cycle and tired of going around the mountain again, we need to fix our eyes on God. He is the only one who can bring us out of a tailspin.
If you don’t know whether you’re in a cycle or a season, look up. God will spot you. He’ll make a way to get off the crazy cycle. It says in Daniel 2:21, “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
His righteous right hand can pull us out of cycles and guide us through seasons.
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