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Know the Season You Are In, Critical to Living Life to the Fullest

In 1978 Kenny Rogers wrote a song called The Gambler. The opening part of the chorus goes “you got to know when to hold them; know when to fold them; know when to walk away; and know when to run.” Essentially the advice given was to understand what you should do at any given moment. This is good advice for making good decisions. In addition, I also see this on a macro level of discerning the overall season that you are in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 gives us this macro level piece of wisdom. The writer says:

“There is a time for everything,

a season for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to lose.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.”

A season is more than a momentary decision. It involves a longer period of time in which you will adjust your life for this extended period.

Some examples here might help. A graduating high school student decides to attend a four year college with a goal of majoring in a subject that leads to a career. He or she commits during these next four years to study hard, limit outside social activities to only Saturday, and not date. Essentially in this season this is the behavior engaged.

Another example might be a divorced person with young children who decides on not considering dating until the youngest child enters high school. This is a season devoted exclusively for work and focusing on raising kids.

A season might also be a change in what is going on in the world. The current pandemic is a classic example of reevaluating and asking God and yourself is this a season to respond differently in my life.

So why is it important to discern and know the season you are in? For openers it helps to focus. An example is if I know that I start college and make certain commitments for the next four years, then I am keenly aware of anything that would cause me to deviate from that course. Second, if I am in a wrong season, then I can make an adjustment to change.

How would I know if I am in the wrong season? Circumstances can sometimes show us we are unaware of the season we are in. I can give you an example from my own life. Five years ago I retired from being on staff of a church ministry. I knew that for a few months I wanted to rest, travel a little, and just have fun. After a while I realized that I might be resting too much and needed to be more active. I figured out through prayer and conversations with others that retirement didn’t mean being “lazy”, it meant a shift in how I did activity. I was in a season of retirement, but misunderstood what that season was about.

Recently, other events have reinforced what I should be doing in the season I am in. Deaths of people I have known for years have shown me the need to be more active in health and purpose. In essence, to make the most of this season.

God has purposely made seasons of life in which to engage. It is our job to discern those seasons and once known, to diligently make decisions that go along with the season we are in.

One of my favorite songs of the 60’s was Turn, Turn, Turn. It was a song written by folk singer Peter Seeger, but made famous by the rock group, The Byrds. It is almost verbatim a recitation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Interestingly Seeger wrote it as a protest song against war, but he captured the essence of the Scripture about seasons of life.

So what season of life are you in: adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, or retirement? Are you in a season of school or work? Are you in a season of singleness or marriage? The first verse of Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time and season for everything. I implore you not to miss the time or you might end up with another season: a season of regret.

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