I sat crying in my parents’ basement playroom. My little boys were around one and three years of age. I remember my mom sat near me, while the boys toddled around, making a mess of toys all over the carpet.
I was distressed, spilling all my emotions, sharing about:
- my daily, mundane tasks,
- my lonely mom-life,
- my struggles in parenting,
- my relationship issues,
- my lack of energy, and
- my confusion and frustration about my place in life.
When I was finally quiet, my mom said: “Sara, I think you’re feeling more down than you think you are.”
This took me by surprise.
In fact, I didn’t agree with her at first, because I’d never been depressed before. I didn’t know how to recognize the signs.
7 Healthy Ways to Accept Your Current Life Season
In the past several weeks, we’ve talked about:
- Biblical reasons why it’s important to accept our current life season (without succumbing to a defeatism mentality); and
- that God accepts our current phase.
But the question remains: HOW? How can we accept our current season?
I know your journey is unique, and it can’t be dictated by a tidy list.
Even so, here are seven healthy ways we can all consider as we learn to accept our current seasons while still moving forward in life:
1. Be Aware of the Season You’re In
In the weeks following my mom’s comment, I began to notice patterns in my days and my emotions. I realized my mom was right.
The signs didn’t lie:
- I cried almost every day.
- I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted all the time.
- I felt hopeless about many things in my life.
- There was a sadness in me that wouldn’t leave.
It was only after I finally recognized and accepted that I was in a season of depression that I was able to take care of myself accordingly.Tweet
To be clear, I didn’t accept this season of depression in the sense that I was satisfied to remain in it.
Rather, I learned to accept where I was so that I could find a way through it rather than be constantly confused by my body and my emotions.
What season are you in right now?
Do you have a trusted friend, counselor, family member, or life coach you could talk to who’d give you a kind but honest observation about your current season?
2. Read books (or Blogs or Listen to Podcasts) to Comfort You in Your Season
One of life’s greatest encouragements is hearing another person’s story of survival, acceptance, perseverance, or victory. No one can “fix” our problems. But they can share their experiences, and we can be encouraged through those stories.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
During my season of postpartum depression, one encouraging book I read stands out above the rest. It was an immense comfort to me.
It was like a balm to my broken spirit.
Believe: A Young Widow’s Journey Through Brokenness and Back, written by Jennifer Silvera, fulfilled 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 for me (in book form, of course).
I felt like Jennifer’s book was sent by God to walk with me through the madness of motherhood, my grief over a broken dream, and a sadness I couldn’t escape.
Jennifer gave me permission to accept my season while still walking with God through and out the other side.
She didn’t offer pat answers. Rather, she helped me feel and accept my emotions. She showed me how to find God in every circumstance, even while suffering pain and depression.
Is there a book or blog or podcast that could comfort you and help you walk through this season?
Why not ask God to help you find a book or blog or podcast that will speak to your season. He’s awesome at always knowing what we need and when.
3. Acknowledge that Seasons Are “Normal”
During seasons of beginnings, growth, life, joy, and prosperity, it’s easy to accept that these seasons are a normal part of life.
Why? Because deep down I believe I shouldn’t have to go through difficult things.
The world screams “Prosperity!”
Media touts “Success is yours!”
Even belief systems from childhood can cause us to think that our current season is unfair. That we’re entitled to a better one.
The reality is that seasons are normal, and we’re not entitled to a life that is hardship-free. In fact, Jesus promised us trouble (John 16:33).
I know, however, that God is good. That whatever circumstances you find yourself in today, God is still good. If you call on Him, He won’t leave you alone in your struggle, in this season.
Can you accept that seasons – both the good and the difficult – are a normal part of this imperfect, earthly life?
If you don’t believe that God ever wills for us to experience difficulties, it will be hard for you to find peace and acceptance during rough seasons.
4. Surrender Your Season to God
Surrender. It’s easier said than done.
But I do know one sure-fire way to surrender our seasons to God, and that is to pray.
And pray some more.
- When raising your babies is wearing you down and you’re tired of feeling tired – bring it to Jesus.
- When you feel like you must have the most misbehaved toddler ever and when will you be able to get groceries without a tantrum – bring it to Jesus.
- When you wish you could escape motherhood altogether – bring it to Jesus.
These prayers don’t need to be long or pretty or even positive. You can cry, vent, and tell God you think life is unfair. The key is to bring it to Him. Then, He’ll lead you and your heart through your season.
When we bring the burden of our life season to God, we are released from the weight of walking through it alone.Tweet
Sometimes, we just don’t know what to say, how to pray, or how to surrender. If that’s you today:
Try praying this simple prayer whenever you feel yourself bucking against the season of life you’re in:
Dear God, I know that nothing is impossible with you. Help me to accept this season. Thank you that you have good plans for my future. I choose to trust you today, even if I don’t understand. Amen.
5. Don’t Live in the Past
It does me no good to regret my promiscuous past, or to wish my kids were still babies, or to pine for a friendship that’s long over, or to long for my pre-pregnancy body to return to me, or to wish I could go back in time and undo an unwise decision.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.Philippians 3:12-14 NLT (emphasis mine)
God doesn’t want us to live in the past.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue healing from our past. Yes! We all need inner healing for both past and present hurts.
But… to constantly regret past mistakes – or on the flip side, to always be fantasizing about an earlier, “better” season in life – is not a healthy way to live.
If you’re tempted to linger on the past in an unhealthy way, try this exercise to help you let go:
Intentionally say “thank you” to God for past seasons whenever they cross your mind.
Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me through to the other side of those indiscretions and for saving me.
Thank you, Father, for the cute memories I have of my children from when they were little and that they’re growing and changing just like you planned for them.
Thank you, Lord, for each friendship I’ve enjoyed, even those that ended badly. I’ve grown and learned from them.
Thank you, Lord, for the body you gave me that that it was able to give birth to three children. They are miraculous gifts!
6. Praise and Thank God!
And on that note of thankfulness…
Once we’re aware of our season, and we’ve acknowledged that difficulties are a normal part of life, and we’ve surrendered our season to God, it becomes much easier to find things to be thankful for.
Thankfulness – even in the direst of circumstances – cultivates inner joy. Joy, in turn, can make a difficult season bearable.Tweet
While suffering from postpartum depression, God helped me recognize the small victories and blessings in my days. Babies and toddlers, while exhausting to take care of, are inherently adorable. They do hilarious things. They’re funny without trying. So, when my boys and I shared a giggle during that difficult time, it was all the more beautiful to me. My heart was grateful for that rare moment of joy, knowing that their cute-factor was a blessing, a grace to me during a difficult season.
During another, separate season of frustration and joy-lessness (when my boys were a little older, around three and four), I began to thank God for things in my life that I really wasn’t feeling thankful for at all. And I learned that the habit of thankfulness cultivated joy – inner joy – even though my circumstances hadn’t changed!
Are there small joys and pleasures that you can hang on to, be thankful for, and praise God for as you move through the challenges of your current season?
If thankfulness is already a part of your nature, take it a step further and start thanking him for those things in your life that you don’t feel are blessings. And just see what happens!
7. Re-Accept Your Season
As each new season or phase comes into your life, you’ll need to accept that new round of challenges, embrace those new joys, and deal with those new disappointments that come along with it.
But the first acceptance often isn’t enough.
In very difficult seasons, I find myself going through the process of acceptance many times over and in different ways.
I believe this is normal. I’m human, after all.
Just when I think, Okay, I’ve got this. I’m growing! Wow, I’m so mature that I can accept this without breaking down, I break down again. My inner resistance screams at the unfairness of life, and I head back over to God and say, “Help! I don’t like this season. I want out! Please help me to accept that life isn’t always fair. Walk with me. I can’t do this alone.”
If I thought I had to travel this life alone, be brave in the scary seasons alone, be strong in the difficult seasons alone, be energetic in the growth seasons alone – I’d want to give up. Life is just too hard without Jesus, and I’m so thankful He doesn’t ever leave me alone.
Jesus is with you in every season. He is with you today. You are not alone.Tweet
This Week’s Challenge
Think about the seven ways to accept your current season in life that are listed above. Choose one to focus on this week. Ask God to help you in your journey. He always does!
Or, consider purchasing Jennifer Silvera’s book, Believe: A Young Widow’s Journey Through Brokenness and Back. Whatever season you’re in, whatever age you are, there’s encouragement and wisdom in her book for everyone.
Let’s Pray Together
Dear Heavenly Father, Whatever season my friend finds herself in today, please help her to recognize that season, to find resources and comfort through others, to understand that seasons are a normal part of life, to surrender her season to you for your purpose, to let go of the past, to praise and thank you in all circumstances, and to return to you again and again with her burdens. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.