The reason for the season is a phrase that we often hear at Christmas time. As in; “Remember the reason for the season!” It’s a way to remind Christians that Christmas is not just about getting presents and watching christmas movies, it’s about the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Well I would like to propose that this phrase is applicable in all “seasons” so to speak. You see, we are constantly calling the different chapters of our lives seasons. There is a season for everything under the sun. This is a season of singleness, a season of reflection, ect. And I think that is all seasons of our life, Jesus is the reason for the season, which is something I know personally I tend to forget.
As I embark on my nearly eight month journey across land and sea, I find that I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not taking this adventure just to see what I can see. While, of course, along the way I am going to make memories and see amazing things and spend time with great people, the real reason I am going on this journey is because I have been called by God to serve His people over seas. And even now as I travel around the US, I am in a season (there’s that word again) of preparation.
This month and a half is my time to be preparing myself for what lies ahead in Europe. My trip cross-country is a season of prayer, and of quieting my soul to listen to what God is speaking to me. It is a season of wrapping my mind around inconstancy and going with the flow and making due with the things I am presented with. It is a season of solitude in many ways as I travel from house to house alone, and spend a good deal of time alone when my friends have other responsibilities. But I love that God has given me that chance to rest and be quite and alone in Him. As a wise woman once said, loneliness is God’s way of drawing you closer to Him. In fact the verse that I keep close to my heart during this season is Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Most importantly though, I think this trip is a season of getting ready to change. I don’t think that this trip will change me in any drastic ways, but I know my time in Europe will. It will shape me into the person I am going to be going into the end of my college career and the beginning of my life outside of the education system. I’m like a caterpillar making a cocoon. I’m getting ready to change, and it’s terrifying.
Along with recognizing what season we are in, and remembering that at the center of it all is God’s will for our lives, and for the lives of those we come in contact with, I am realizing that God is revealing things to me, things that will become a part of my tool box so to speak when I am gone. Today I was at my friend’s church in Georgia, and the preacher said a lot of things that I felt were so applicable to my future journey. Like when he spoke on 1 Corinthians 9, when Paul says, I am all things to all people so that by all means possible I might save one. Paul is talking about a respect for the culture of others, about building rapport and trust, and not disrespecting people because they are different from you, but getting down to their level, while still living by The Word, so that by adapting to their situation, you might bring them closer to salvation through Christ. When I go to Europe I have to abide by specific cultural guidelines, both when it comes to the countries I am in, and also to the groups of people I am working with. Whether they be from the Middle East, or Africa, or Asia, or Europe, I have to adapt to each group in order to speak into their lives. I will have to cover my tattoos, and dress certain ways, and be mindful of who I speak to and how. I have to do this so I can build a sense of mutual respect and trust so that God can speak through me and bring His children home to Him.
Another revelation came when the preacher talked about how God meets us where we are. How when we finally choose to acknowledge him, very often we come to Him as broken people. He doesn’t take us broken, extend His grace, and then expect us to wake up the next day completely fixed and on the right path. He sees our brokeness, and our failures, and He comes alongside us to help shoulder the burden, and He guides us back to the path of rightness whatever that means for us, and however long it takes. That is exactly the situation I will be facing in the mission field. If we, as evangelists and advocates of Christ, cannot come alongside those we are reaching out to and help guide them through their struggles to a straight path, then we aren’t being Christ to the world. You can’t simply say here is the grace of God, accept it, and walk away. Christianity is a community, it is a body of believers leading, supporting, and so many times dragging each other through the troubles of this world.
But I think the biggest thing God revealed to me today was about faith. My Bible professor puts the phrase; “Faith is believing that God keeps His promises” in our notes, on one of our exams, and on our final. It is a point he really seems to want to drive home, and it has taken me this long to truly get it. I have been worrying…a lot. I worry about traveling, I worry about money, I worry about school and my friends, I worry about relationships and change and what life is going to be like when I get to Europe, and what it’s going to be when I get back. I work about trivial things, and important things, I just worry. I have been, in my quite times with God, praying for a release of anxiety, I have turned over a great many things to Him and said I trust You, I release these worries to You. But then I continued to worry about them. Today God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Jeanette, oh ye of little faith, didn’t you turn these things over to Me?” I finally understood that the more I worried about all of these things, the less faith I was having in the plan God has for me. I said I trusted Him, and then showed that I didn’t by stressing over the things He already promised me He would handle! James says faith without works is dead, and I can tell you that works without faith is just going through the motions, and that is not how I want to live my life.
So ultimately what I’m trying to convey is that I never want to lose sight of my reason for this season of life. I will have a lot of fun, and do and see a lot of things, but mostly I will be serving the Kingdom and loving on God’s people, which is really why I’m leaving everything behind for six months in the first place. So live life, have fun, learn a lot, and never lose sight of who you are living for.