Tuesday, December 21, 2010

seasons: alone leads to together

Seasons. I'm a seasons girl. While growing up, I went through lots of phases. Phases of Mickey Mouse, Ninja Turtles, dinosaurs, cowgirl things, and lots of other things that live in garage boxes labeled "too cute to throw away." Seasons and phases are something I can get into. And actually, this concept is pretty biblical if you ask me.

Ecclesiastes 3:
There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
...You get the picture.

I think it's cool because most of these times or seasons cycle. Think about plants throughout the year. They die, then seeds of the dead cause them to bloom again. We are in constant cycle. We hurt and then we heal, usually just in time to be hurt and healed once again. One part of the cycle leads us into the next.

My seasons? Aloneness and togetherness.

As a single 20-something, I've grown to enjoy both of these very much. I'm recharged by quality time with others. I love to spend time with people--friends new and old. However, there's just something splendid about being on my own. These are two very important things to have in your life no matter your relationship status, but sometimes I feel strange admitting that alone is a great thing for me to be. Being a strong extrovert, I often get looks of surprise when I mention my solo trips to restaurants, movies, coffee shops, you name it. It truly is fun to be that and do that from time to time. You need both.

One of my favorite quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is from Life Together:
"Let him who cannot be alone, beware of community... Let him who is not in community, beware of being alone."

Alone seasons are a time where I get to know God, who He has made me to be, and learn that He's placed a lot of strength and capability within me. It's also a time to realize my depth of brokenness, which reveals my dependence on God and community. So much growth happens when you're simply letting yourself sit in the hands of the Holy One. In the last two years, I have had tremendous personal growth where I have seen God working on me in the meantime. I attribute that growth to seasons where being alone has been more prevalent in my life. This doesn't mean I'm isolated or out of community, but I've definitely been blessed by some "Israelites in the desert"-esque experiences. God taking my hand and saying, "trust me for a season..my promise for you on the other side is great." So far, so difficult, but so worth it. Seasons of alone better equip me for seasons of together. Just like Ecclesiastes, one spurs me back into the other. The beauty is that alone often allows us to be closer to others in the long run. It's a beautiful cycle that I'm learning to embrace more and more.

If you're in an alone season, I feel ya. Hang in there...wait it out until you like it, as the video says, take advantage of what it has to offer, and realize two things:
1) the promises on the other side of being alone are great--wait for them; 2) that even when you're waiting alone, God's promise to never leave or forsake you, to be your Emmanuel, still stands.

In honor of alone seasons, here is a fantastic video. Give it a watch...and take yourself out to dinner. :-)

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