What purpose do you see in the winter of your life?
With all this snow and ice, and desolation here in the Midwest, the mood in our house has been one of despair, and boredom, and desperation to do anything that isn’t watching TV. I am an outdoor person, and I am seriously tired of the cold.
In fact I am pretty sure that most of the country has been hit by some pretty nasty, stay-inside-unless-you-want-your-nose-frozen-off type of weather, So I’m sure that you all feel my pain.
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, and sit, and stare out the window at the gloomy grayness that has overtaken.
During my reflecting, and sitting, I wonder what it would be like to just go get on a plane to Florida, no plans, just go. I wonder what people in Florida are doing right now…humm.
But more that all of that, I feel like there is probably something that I could be seeing.
There is something that I could be taking from this experience of living through the cold, dim waste land of winter that will last for who knows how long.
There is something deeper stirring inside me.
Here are my thoughts on how God uses the winter in our lives- I hope they resonate with you as well.
Winter is a time of beauty. It’s a time of snuggling in with family, and of gathering around a meal with friends. The snow can make some of the most beautiful scenery, and the death of old life, and promise of the new at the end of winter displays God’s brilliance like no other.
Yet, the same season that can be seen as beautiful and wondrous, is the same season that can be cold, and lonely, and feel very much like death.
Without focusing on the beauty in winter, our eyes may only be able to see the cold, and the darkness.
The snowy, rainy, muddy and icy days remind me of the hardest days in life.
They remind me of the times in my own life when I struggle to find joy because I haven’t trained my eyes to see the beauty that is all around me.
In these days, we find ourselves farthest from God, far from knowing our purpose, and our worth. We struggle to know who we truly are. Sometimes we don’t know why we get out of bed other than sheer responsibility to another- our kids, our spouse, our job.
These are the winter days we all try to avoid, but they inevitably come. We read self help books on how to be more free, and less conflicted. Books on how to move on from hurt, and how to change our lives for the better.
For some, these times may be easier to navigate than for others, leaving as quickly as they came with a simple change of attitude.
But these hard, cold, lonely days- they show up for everyone eventually.
Sometimes they stay a while, just like the winter. Sometimes, just like the sun in winter, we can’t see our hope, and we can’t feel it’s warmth. Sometimes we wonder if God is even there at all.
At times, our winter days wash over us, and sweep us along the undertow, just like waves of grief and sorrow over a loved one lost too soon.
And sometimes they come but are rooted out of us just as quickly by the kind words of a friend who knows the right thing to say to make our eyes find the sun again.
What is the purpose of the winter? What is the purpose in the lonely, and desolate times we walk through in life?
Maybe God’s purpose for us in winter is simple
Maybe we only need to be reminded sometimes of how life is messy and complicated, and lonely, but that just beyond the clouds, is the warmth, and the light that we crave. Just beyond the clouds is hope.
The thing is, often I can’t see God’s will, or purpose in the messiness of life. But yet, he has never once turned his back on me. You may not see the sun for days, or weeks in the dead of winter, but just like God, it never fails to show up.
It’s our vision that holds us back from seeing purpose in the winter
Often I question why I am walking through a hard time, and I wonder how I got myself there. I struggle and and fight to get out of this place of hard and difficult growth. I plead with God to take this away from me. But what if I chose to stop struggling, and just feel the discomfort, appreciate it for what it was, and ask God to teach me through it?
What if I focused on growing instead of clawing my way to the exit door as fast as possible?
What if I refused to focus on the negative in life, and chose to see the good that may come out of any less than ideal situation? What if we all chose to see only the beauty in the winter?
This takes guts, and this is hard.
But what if that is the only way to emerge on the other side of the winter in your life with new strength, hope and purpose?
I’d LOVE to hear about how can you relate winter to your life!