Caring for my soul in another season of change.
There is change in the air. Can you feel it? The mornings and evenings have a crisp bite. Days are turning out cool more often than being warm. Fruit availability is switching over from the summer stone fruits to the citrus and apples. I love being able to snuggle up in my new plum coloured hoodie, wrap myself up in a fluffy blanket and socks at night and sip a warm tumeric latte or indulgent glass of port.
Seasons shift with some semblance of regularity. There is a predictability to weather patterns moving from summer heat to autumn cool to winter wet and cold. We know how to prepare for that. We know how to process and deal with these changes. The warmer clothes get dug out of wherever they were stored. My daughter gets a shopping trip to stock up on clothes as she has grown too much to squeeze into last year’s offerings. We start to carry umbrellas. Meal planning shifts to stews and soups more than barbecues. This kind of change feels familiar and manageable. It doesn’t disrupt our lives too greatly (at least, not in a temperate area like Perth, Western Australia!)
What about other seasons of change? The ones that gradually build up until you become aware of restlessness in your soul. The ones that form a constant niggle at the back of your mind. How do we cope with those? I feel like I have walked through these seasons repeatedly and yet they catch me by surprise each time. There is both familiarity and newness. I am not the same person I was in the last season and I am not the person I will be for the next.
I am left floundering for a way forward. Really this is because I want some great big neon sign to spell out a step by step plan leading to the perfect outcome for all involved. Wouldn’t that be nice? I know that life doesn’t tend to work that way and neither does God. The way forward requires applying lessons learned in the past and growing through the uncomfortable process of learning new lessons. It cannot be rushed to my own time schedule simply because I want to avoid the discomfort. Neither can it be put off indefinitely, hoping that I won’t have to make decisions or take action. It requires listening and leaning in.
Through this season, I sense a deeper lesson being drawn out. It is not new but feels more critical than ever. How do I care for my soul in this time? How do I set myself up to be healthy holistically to allow me to thrive, make wise choices and still feel like a person? I love how God tends to bring resources to you before you know you need them. I have long been an avid listener of Emily P. Freeman’s podcast “The Next Right Thing” and she has released a book of the same title. As a pre-order bonus, I also received access to her “Discern and Decide” online course which is all about creating rhythms and practices in your life to create space for making decisions well. Other podcasts I listen to bring the same themes.
I don’t have it all figured out but I am working on it. I am journalling more. I am using an Examen practice before bed. I am allowing myself times away from thinking. I am leaning in to my relationship with God. I am focusing on what the next right thing is in front of me each day. I am gathering the courage for hard conversations. I am seeking arrows to point me onward.
I have no idea where this time of change and stirring will lead. The one thing that I am completely certain about is that it will not be the last time I face a time of decision, change and restlessness. Where are you at the moment? In a season of change? Just coming out of one? Sense one of the horizon? As human beings in this world, these times are inevitable. How do you walk through these times? What lessons have you learned that you take forward into the next times? How are you caring for your soul right now?
Spending time in quiet reflection, meditation, writing or focused work time? I created a playlist for myself to use and wanted to share it with you too. Find it here.
Image by Nick Barnes from Pixabay