This little girl is so beautiful… I hope my daughter radiates God’s grace in her life like this little girl.
Recently thoughts of dissatisfaction with where I am in life crept up on me and for a while I listened to them and strove after what I felt was the goal but then I had a lesson on seasons. Seasons can seem confusing when we are not satisfied with trusting something higher than ourselves, because we must be able to figure it out right? We have to know where we are going how fast we are going there and if we are measuring up to the standards of all those living around us. What I did not realize is that the need to use logic to know and to reach a firm conclusion of my entire life’s goal is a feeble attempt at control. “If I only knew why God did certain things I would be okay with it” is in essence saying, “If God fits into my window of understanding I will let him do what he does without a fight.” Anxiety comes from a spirit that needs to know.
Because of the way we as a culture have evolved we have lost sight of the importance of seasons. Before the industrial revolution hit we relied on the seasons, winter for rest, summer for work, spring for cultivation, and fall for harvesting, but due to changes in society we no longer value the seasons except for maybe their beauty. What we don’t understand is that the concept of the season has a profound impact on our lives every day and so without this understanding we are content to meander through life without truly divining the season we are in and pursuing it. I believe that nature is a parallel in many ways to the nature within us. We are constantly on a journey in life and on this journey we are constantly moving through seasons of change. The very belief that we are on a journey implies change. So if we are going through seasons, should we not put our minds to rest in that we are in a season, and that season is where we need to be. With contentment comes understanding and peace. The earth has no say in what season it is undergoing at a certain point in time, but that does not mean it cannot benefit from its time in each season, and that it is in a specific season for a reason.
Seasons of growth are ruined by jealousy. If I am in a season of harvesting in my life and am reaping the benefits of what I have sown and yet am looking at someone else in a season of rest and put myself in a state of rest I am ruining my season. When I try and put myself in a season other than my own I am missing out on what the season I am in is offering me. Because of this realization I must be content with the season that I am in, which means releasing control of my path and pursuing meaning in my current circumstances. Submission to the seasons of life releases stress and promotes a contentment and inner peace that I am where I need to be and if I feel out of place I am simply trying to be somewhere I am not.
Looking at love and those in relationships its easy to say, “I want to be married” but is that actually what we want. When it comes down to actually getting married it is a completely different matter entirely. No longer does the naïve thoughts and daydreams of a seamless union between two souls exist. All thought about the serenity of living together disappears and seems to be replaced by anxiety and a feeling of uncertainty. Commitment seems like too much to ask, responsibility seems like a never-ending nightmare, and the happiness of being in a relationship with the one you love seems to die away. Why is this? Has love magically evaporated over the unusually short time span of realizing that a marriage is not only possible but imminent with your lover. Or is it that all good things have an opposite, and the nature of evil is to ruin good.
The sea of love and growing intimacy that once used to be so calm can be easily disrupted by fear. Thoughts of am I with the right person, and is it worth risking my future to enter into a covenant that I have been told since adolescence is dying? To understand this dramatic shift in thinking the concept of love must be understood. Love isn’t simply a feeling its a desire to sacrifice. This doesn’t line up very well when applied to the feelings we are taught equate to love, however it is true. Emotions can come and go and feelings fade, but what stays around for a lifetime is commitment and commitment is a choice. Choosing takes courage, a courage that is bottled up, demeaned, and labeled as archaic in todays world. Its all about me, what I feel, what I think, these types of thoughts are brainwashed into us as we grow up and so we take them into our love life. Is it worth it for me to get married? Am I with the right person? We are taught to evaluate love as a selfish form of satisfaction; however, love is really the ability to choose sacrifice and to deny selfish pleasure for another. At some point you won’t want to do something for you significant other, and if they are truly meant for you then you will find a desire inside of yourself to sacrifice for them even when it doesn’t line up with your agenda. Is marriage daunting? Yes. But I would argue that marriage, even young marriage should be encouraged and supported, because without a support system and a culture of true love, marriage will cease to exist and will be replaced by a culture of cohabitation and selfishness.
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photo essays by ben reynolds
Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell