Spring this year has been unusually beautiful. Although it began early, it’s seemed like a slow spring with incremental levels of greening and blooming. As I watched the slow unfolding of spring, I was reminded that some seasons in our lives are slow in coming, linger longer than expected, and are tardy in resolving. At times, these slow seasons prove frustrating, but if we allow it, these can be times of reflection, growth, processing, and forward motion.
Here are some observations about a slow season of life:
Prolonged Blooming Period
One of the benefits of a slow spring is the ability to more closely observe the beauty as it unfolds. The blooming period for various plants happens more gradually. The snowy branches of Bradford pear trees and purply-pink of redbud are followed by sunny faces of daffodils. Various shades of green look as if painted across the grass and trees. Tulips and irises give way to azaleas and dogwoods. There is time to savor each as it puts on colorful apparel. When spring comes fast, it’s hard to see and enjoy everything at once. You miss the nuances of changing hues.
It often the same in our lives. A slow season may present challenges because it involves grief, uncertainty, and waiting. When growth in any area is slow, an element of frustration exists, yet you have the time to process, learn, and savor. If everything happens fast, and at once, we often miss the lessons and the blessings.
Moderate Climate with Just Enough Rain
Spring often comes with wide temperature swings and varied precipitation. This year, parts of the country have experienced heavy snows into April. But here the temperature shifts have been moderate, contributing to the beauty of a prolonged spring.
Many people don’t like rainy days. It messed up hair styles, often requires an umbrella, and sometimes dampens spirits. But without rain growth can’t happen. You may be in a season of life when problems rain down with torrential force and little respite. It may feel as if faith and trust wash down the gutters of fear and uncertainty. But hang on. The rain will give way to fresh possibilities and a brighter tomorrow.
Expect Some Weeds
While the grass in our yard is vibrant and green and the flowering plants are putting on a show, weeds have made an appearance, also. Along with greening and growth you can always expect weeds. Even after being sprayed, weeds are slow to give up and are an annoying addition to the beauty of spring.
Like stubborn weeds, old habits, attitudes, and hurts put down deep roots and are resistant to banishment, even when you’re working diligently to remove them. They may be fading, but still occupy a place in your thoughts, shaping your responses, and choking out growth.
Eradicating weeds may require additional attention beyond the initial discover and treatment. Be diligent. Don’t allow weeds in thoughts and deeds to inhibit progress and growth emotionally and spiritually.
Prepare for Next Steps
I am amateur gardener. One definition of “amateur” says “one lacking in experience and competence.” I readily raise my hand to that definition. Another definition says an amateur is an admirer, someone who stands at a distance and appreciates, but doesn’t get her hands dirty.
That is often they way we approach a slow season of life. Instead of digging in to discover what God is teaching us through this period, we stand back, glance reluctantly at what is going on, and wait with impatient toe-tapping for this season, whatever it is, to be over. Instead, look for what is happening in your life that might not be visible to others. Are your spiritual roots growing deeper? Is God nudging you to deal with a neglected relationship or confront an unconfessed sin? Get some dirt on your hands. Pull some weeds and prune some branches, but also enjoy the beauty of the process and learn from this slow season in your life.
“Ask the Lord for rain in spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” (Zechariah 10:1 NLT)