Are you in a new season of life, frantically figuring out the unknown? Or are things normal, bordering on dull? I’ve been thinking a lot about these stages as we transitioned this year, and I find that most of life is either one or the other. We are either leaning into the unfamiliar and trying to find our footing (new job, new school, new home, new country) OR we look around, recognize our lives as routine and crave something fresh and exciting.
Regardless of where you currently stand, I think it can be easy to get swept up in the moment, forgetting to embrace each season for what it is and what it can offer. I’ve gone from a fast-paced routine of rewarding work, constant community and a predictable, busy calendar to days where walking the dog is my only agenda item. I’m alone with my thoughts in a new environment that awakens and sometimes overwhelms my senses.
How do we find contentment and purpose in each of these places? These are simple things you probably already know, but sometimes I have to remind myself to put them into practice.
When Something is New
1. Walk in the Light. First and foremost, when your world is shifting, lean on the One who created you. God knows the plans for your life, to prosper and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. Breathe in those promises before your feet hit the floor every morning. I always feel more secure in an unknown situation when I remind myself that He’s in control and walking beside me.
2. Stretch out of your Comfort Zone. Good things come from getting uncomfortable. Yes, it’s awkward to meet new people, understand new cultures and try new things, but the hard work is rewarded with new friends, experiences and personal growth. Throwing myself into new situations gets easier with time, and in most cases, nets positive results.
3. Acknowledge Gratitude. Man, we are lucky. Each of us is blessed with so much, it’s almost embarrassing. Even in the tough times, stopping to count my blessings will recalibrate my attitude. My list of thanks is miles long, and if I focus on that instead of the minor annoyances or even legitimate, difficult struggles, I find it lowers my heart rate and warms me like a cozy blanket.
When Nothing is New
1. Challenge yourself. Routine is good, but I think it’s important to push ourselves beyond the boundaries of our regular groove to keep feeling alive. Set a goal to try one new thing—every day, every month, every year. It can be something small (take a new route to work!) or something scary and big (get a new job!) Make a list and check them off as you tackle each new challenge. Suddenly life won’t feel the same.
2. Be authentic with friends, and get at least one mentor. Accountability partners are great to keep you on track with your list of goals. They are always there to listen and pray for you. But it only works if you are open and honest. I’ve shared my hopes and dreams with true friends over the years, and friendships grow deeper when you invest in being real. Don’t be afraid to trust someone, and in turn you can learn their hopes and dreams, too.
3. Give back. It’s true that when you serve others selflessly, blessings come back to you in surprising ways. If you are in a rut—and especially if you are overwhelmed with busyness—re-evaluate your routine and make sure it includes a regular dose of giving back to those in need. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to volunteer at your child’s school or sports team, but donating your hands-on time and talents to organizations and ministries serving those less fortunate fills a need in the world and an untapped empathy in your heart.
No Matter What
There’s one thing I have to remind myself whether I’m in a rut or tackling a new season of life. Don’t wish the days away. Each day we can learn something new, we can enjoy the beauty in nature and we can celebrate a big or small victory with friends. Whatever stage of life you are in, embrace it and love it. Don’t obsess about what’s to come. There’s too much good in our everyday to wish it away!