How to Find Beauty in the Anonymous Seasons

In a world that revolves around fast food, fast internet, and instant gratification; waiting has become a lesser valued virtue in a modern age. Why is it taking so long to see my life transpire? We may feel like someone pressed the pause button on all of our hopes and dreams. Maybe if we are being honest, we sometimes wonder if God has forgotten us or the dreams He placed on our hearts. Doubting God with our dreams can lead to desperate decisions and poor attempts to bring about the dream ourselves on our own terms instead of trusting that God sees us being faithful in the season where we are currently residing.

Jesus’ three years of ministry rested on three decades that were mostly undocumented, uncelebrated and underestimated. Yet when we say we want to be like Jesus we are thinking of the three years of glory and not the three decades of preparation. We want Jesus’ authority to echo through our lives but that life does not come instantaneously, most of that life is lived in anonymity and preparation. What does God grow in us and in Jesus during those seemingly barren, underestimated seasons?

We mistakenly see summer seasons as a reward and winter seasons as a punishment. Most of us would rather stay in an everlasting summer, myself included! We view summer months with fullness, richness, beauty, visibility, and as a form of reward so we want to stay there. We want to be always increasing never decreasing, always striving to move forward, never standing still. That is the way of this world, of course we believe we need to follow suite. Stillness can wrongly be mistaken as laziness or lack of direction, God wouldn't dare be so careless. Anywhere we look at the laws of nature we see that God has set into place natural laws of seasons. On Earth, we have no control over this. We cannot lengthen summer, postpone winter, or hasten spring. We know this in the physical yet in the spiritual we strive to do anything we possibly can to prolong the season of fruitfulness and perhaps postpone this season of winter and waiting, preferably indefinitely.

When we try to do it all ourselves, our way and our timing, we miss out on seeing God’s grace, which is God’s unmerited favor and divine timing. We are relying on self-consciousness instead of allowing a focus on God-consciousness to lead us wherever He wants to take us. When we learn to become God-centered instead of self-centered we take the pressure off of ourselves and give Him room to show Himself faithful. That is not to say we shouldn’t try, far from it, but our best combined with God’s best will always prove to be the most fruitful result. This journey is about walking step by step with Him, the good days and the bad days, rather than taking the short cut to instant gratification. In our achievement driven society, we tend to think the dream, or the job, or the platform is the goal, when it is not. It is a goal, one dream. This life is never about one moment. It is about the journey, not any singular destination. This life is truly the training ground.

It is in the unknown years, the winter months, the days of being unseen and unheard that actually strengthen us and prepare us so that we are not utterly ruined and distracted by the seductive days of summer. When God says, “Wait, not yet,” there is so much at stake in whether we will say, “Your will be done.”

This season of “not yet” is about submissional living, so that we may see God’s faithfulness in our lives. Jesus said, “Follow Me,” He didn’t mean “run ahead of me and I’ll catch up,” He meant “follow.” That is ultimately the question we have to answer in every season of our lives: “Will I submit to Him? Will I trust Him enough to let Him go before me and lead me? Will His love be more important than everything else, even when the ways of the world tell me otherwise?” The foundation of this journey happens in the hidden place so that if God calls us to visibility in one season, it doesn’t matter anymore because loving Him, walking with Him through each day, is the treasure.

He positions us for strength through those hidden years. Whether you are entrusted with leading one or one-thousand-and-one, ultimately it is about serving Him, and that is learned in the quiet, unseen, unheard years of our walk with the Holy Spirit.

Be encouraged to just trust God. He sees you, He hears you, and He made no mistake in you. We have wrongly spiritualized ambition. I’m not saying don’t put forth an effort, that’s not the message. But sometimes the greatest thing we could do is to be still and wait on God. When we have these God-sized dreams placed on our heart, we have to wrestle with the doubt and disbelief from ourselves and others. When we give way to faith that is when we allow a shift in the spiritual to take place. These seasons of “not yet” give us the opportunity to wrestle with what it truly means to be hidden in Christ.

If we can make hidden in Christ our reality then we are hidden in Christ whether we are paying off college loans, whether we are being a mother to a child, or whether we are promoted to a platform. Hidden in Christ becomes our new identity and that is a true place of strength, that is a true place of protection, that is a true place of victory. We won’t be dazzled by praise or distraught by criticism because we know who we are in Christ, wrapped in His robes of righteousness. We will know the true power of walking in our royal identity through Christ.  

Have the courage to be present in this moment, in this current season. You don’t have to have all the answers; we are not meant to know the answers to everything. Trust God in whatever season of your life. He has you where you are on purpose for a purpose. There is no need to fear the unknown, no need to fear stepping into new seasons, or fear you may not be capable or smart enough for what He’s called you to do. Don’t look around at the things that threaten your peace and try to pull your eyes off of Him. He is with you, He will help you, He will give you strength and hold you steady. Jesus doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called, even in those unseen seasons. Today is a gift and time is an investment in a future we cannot yet see. Invest wisely.

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EncouragementHeather Swanson