Sometimes we go through seasons when doing hard things is invisible to those around us—it’s inward. Perhaps it looks bleak, even. Like a winter with cold, hard ground where growth seems impossible. Yet, gradually, spring comes and earth softens and seeds take root. Growth happens underneath the ground—buried and invisible to the naked eye.
I’ve found this to be true because my life hasn’t gone quite like I expected. Fast forward 5 years since my high school graduation and I haven’t done anything outwardly worthwhile with my life—by the world’s academic standards, that is.
A Season of Inward Growth
However, I spent some of those years doing hard things. Something of great worthwhile emotionally and inwardly—healing from anxiety and wounds. I saw counselors. I talked through matters of the past and present that were painful and tricky to navigate.
I was full of fear about the way my anxiety manifested and desperately needed someone to guide me through and calm me.
We know from Proverbs that having counselors and guidance plays an integral part to the Christian life, “When there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (11:14).
After the relief that came from having a safe place to spill those fears, I know firsthand how beautiful it would be to become that person for somebody else.
Outward Growth Down the Road
Living life focused inwardly prepared me for my calling to help others who have experienced brokenness too. This fall, I will be attending college to become a counselor. Although outward growth is just as important as inward growth, it feels more adventurous.
It’s tough when you don’t live according to the cultural norm and attend college immediately after high school. You feel out of place or odd. Yet, when the time is right, you can always begin the journey. If you’re in this situation, don’t panic if your education doesn’t work out right away. Or if you’re pursuing another plan, it’s okay if it doesn’t happen on the traditional timetable. Dive in when opportunity finally knocks.It’s never too late to pursue your dreams through education or through outward hard things after a season of inward ones. Click To Tweet
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 appropriately states, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”
Some seasons are quiet, some are bolder and busier. Do both equally count in value? Absolutely! One is sowing, one reaping. “He has made everything beautiful,” Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “in its time” (v.11).
Don’t stress over the details…
Financial aid didn’t work out for me like I wanted it to, so I ended up having to plan to take general courses at my community college and will then transfer to Liberty University Online. Although things fell into place differently than I expected or wanted, I still have peace knowing I will be receiving a good education. This path will still fulfill my dream of becoming a counselor.
While details may not work out like we imagine, God is still in charge of them all. He may not give us exactly what we want, but He will always give us the next piece that we need. The right pieces will fall into place and He’ll lead you on the right path of pursuing your purpose—invisible or visible—one hard thing at a time!
As C.S. Lewis says, “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.”
Tips to Help You Thrive in Each Season
1. Don’t compare.
I’m a quote junkie! And one repeated theme I come across is that your journey is completely different than that of someone else. Refuse to let defeat creep in through that comparison.
“…But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12b).
2. Consider your gifts and passions.
Another common saying I find a lot is that our dreams, aren’t an accident—God has given them to us for a reason. Head in the direction of what makes your heart beat with joy!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
3. Don’t forget–there’s only one of you!
Your life will make a unique impact on this earth. Think George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We will never grasp what a difference we make in the lives ours touch until heaven! In the meantime, keep being faithful, knowing that faithfulness produces fruitfulness.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:14-16).
Keep moving forward, my friend! Whether doing hard things is an inward or outward process for you currently, treasure this season and seek to live it well. Be comforted that you’re never too late to step into the plans God has for you. Let your life be void of comparison, cultivate your gifts, and have peace knowing your story is one of a kind and you are not forgotten by the God writing each chapter. Click To Tweet
What has doing hard things looked like in the season you are in? What tips have helped to encourage you?