As a new year begins for many, including myself, we tend to spend time reflecting on the highlights and, at times, the low lights of the previous year. It is only natural for us to look back if only for just a brief period.
Looking back helps us to look forward as a new year begins. We seemed to be hard-wired to respond to the changing of our calendar. We live in a cycle of seasons: the sun rises and sets to create a day, the moon is new twice and we have a month, the earth moves around the sun and we have a year.
In the middle of all this, we have seasons each producing something new in life:
- Winter to Spring = New Life
- Spring to Summer = Growth
- Summer to Fall = Harvest
- Fall to Winter = Rest/Renewal
We live in the mist of time which is always renewing itself, always moving forward, always producing, always changing but yet…always the same.
It is during “this time” of year, when there is significant change in our time by way of our calendar, we find ourselves preparing for another journey around the sun and through the seasons of life.
Just as each and every year prior to this one we consider the past and try to set a path for the future. The questions I am asking myself this year are a bit different than in previous years.
As I reflect back, I’m asking if anyone made a difference in my life last year, if so, how? Looking forward, I’m asking myself what will it look like if I’m going to make a difference in someone’s life in the upcoming year?
If I am going to impact others then the process begins with me! To truly have a transformational impact on another individual I must first undergo transformation myself. For it is through one’s own transformation that others are impacted and served the most. This is where lives are changed.
My guide this year is simply to follow the seasons. If you are like me and tend to find yourself wanting to rush through life, take a deep breath and allow this year to unfold as it has been designed.
Fall to Winter = Rest/Renewal
First, choose to be renewed! Focus on yourself first. Spend time during this season focusing on your mind, body, and soul. It is a time of rest and renewal for each of these vital parts of who you are.
- Challenge your mind to learn something new.
- Re-engage your body in new activity.
- Renew your spirit each day in the Word and in prayer.
Winter to Spring = New Life
Second, your rest and renewal will mature into new life. As your mind, body, and soul are renewed you will discover ways to live life in full abundance. It is during this time, new life begins to show up and transformation begins to be noticeable. Consider the following during this season:
- What in my life do I need to shed?
- What in my life needs to thrive?
Spring to Summer = Growth
Third, new life now begins to grow which includes healthy habits and healthy friends. During this season of the year, you will be in full stride. Growth is occurring. The challenge during this time is to stay focused so the right growth takes place. What is important to note is whatever “new life” you bring into this season is what will grow. Allow bad habits and friends to remain and those will grow. Bring in the right habits and friends and they will grow. Consider the following to allow the greatest growth:
Spend time away from your normal routine during this season re-evaluating your progress, then check and adjust. It is possible for some rest and renewal to take place during the season.
Share your growth with someone else as a way to encourage others.
Have others around you sharing their journey as a way to encourage you. Growth can be extremely exhausting and can lead to burnout if not monitored
Summer to Fall = Harvest
Fourth, it is during this season you will begin to see the fruit of your efforts. The harvest season is when the full impact of what you have accomplished will begin to reveal itself in the lives of others that have been a part of your journey. Keep in mind the bounty of the harvest will be in direct proportion to the effort you sowed into the previous seasons of the year. Consider during this season:
- Record what you learn.
During each season record your experiences.
Ask others to offer insight as to what they observed along the way.
- Find a public forum.
True transformation occurs during this season when we share our story.
Tell your story in some way, face-to-face or social, get the word out.
- Be a public forum.
Make it a point to hear someone else’s story.
Don’t be surprised when you hear how you have impacted them along the way.
When our lives are transformed others are transformed along the way. You can be an active part of the transformation that takes place each year just as the seasons come and go. Or, you can be the victim of your circumstances as an inactive bystander. You are always being transformed, the choice you make is to be engaged in the transformation or not. A transformed life leads to a transformed world.