Did you know there are 4 seasons of a writer?
My #oneword365 for 2017 was “cultivate.” I learned so many lessons about cultivating the ground of my heart including one BIG lesson about seasons.
No matter if you have been writing for a day or a decade, I want you to get to know the spiritual significance of the writing season you find yourself in.
A nickname given to me by a former youth pastor was “more words than Webster.” This makes perfect sense when you learn that I got my start at writing from Good News, Etc. in 2002, blogging since 2004, and writing as a full-time job since 2009.
In the past nine years, I have written countless articles, published ten books, and helped over a dozen clients self-publish their books on Amazon. (See an excerpt from my new book Unloved below).
If there is one thing (well, four things really) you learn from me, it’s that the life of a writer ebbs and flows like the seasons.
On the fourth day God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14, KJV, emphasis added).
“Season” in Hebrew means “the appointed time.”
This is important to note because:
- Seasons go in order.
- What works in one season may not work in another.
- If you are in a hard season: remember, this is just a season.
- The branch has nothing to prove to the vine. #Remain
- God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:31).
- “He changes times and seasons” (Daniel 2:21a).
- There is a 7-cycle process from planting a seed to bearing fruit: Seed, Saplings, Branches, Buds, Blossoms, Flowers, and Fruit (Whispers of Rest).
- There are 4 different kinds of soil: Hard soil, Rocky soil, Thorny soil, and Rich soil (Luke 8:4-15).
If you are in a winter season, I want you to know that your words are not dead.
Key theme: Hope
Key giant: Despair
Key book: The Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton
Key feeling words: uncomfortable, hopeless, cold, tired, darkness, restful, restorative, needing a break, limited sunlight, solitude, silence, dead, long, place of refuge
Key phrase: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13)
If you are in a spring season, I want you to know that your words are planted.
Key theme: Truth
Key giant: Fear
Key book: Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray
Key feeling words: new beginning, messy, pruning, painful, promotes growth, roots, seeds, life, blossoms, spring showers, rain, storms, soil, flourish, blooming, confession, faith, truth, short-lived, fearful, plow, noisy (false starts), quiet, temptation, counterfeit dreams/blossoms (fruit comes in summer, not spring)
Key phrase: “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11).
If you are in a summer season, I want you to know that your words are ripe.
Key theme: Love
Key giant: Shame
Key feeling words: restlessness, guilt, shame, enjoying His goodness, ripe, softening, heat, hot, vacation, spiritual fruit, savor, satisfied, rest in the shade, stop planting, relax, enjoy
Key phrase: “Ripe fruit bruises easily.”
If you are in a fall season, I want you to know that your words are harvested.
Key themes: Thanksgiving
Key giant: Ungratefulness
Key book: Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson
Key feeling words: harvest, storage for winter, more, maturity, settle, hard work, labor, prepare, present, put it down, pour it out, sacrifice
Key phrase: “Sacrifice your gifts. Offer them to God. Let him turn an average rock into an altar” (Priscilla Shirer).
Question: What season are your words currently in and why?
To help you answer this question I am sharing an excerpt from my new book, Unloved, below:
HOPE IN EVERY SEASON
Seasons change. I never realized the spiritual significance of the changing of seasons until I learned how to cultivate a life of my dreams.
Jesus is quoted twice in the Gospels talking about spiritual seasons in Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV) and Luke 12:54-56 (NIV):
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”
He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”
It doesn’t take much effort to walk outside and determine if it’s going to rain that day. It does, however, take time to learn how to pray and read the Word to determine which spiritual season you are in.
Your ability to praise the Lord despite your circumstances or unmet desires has the power to awaken your dreams, including the dreams of future generations.
Dreams, like seasons, change often.
If you are unsure how to cultivate a life of your dreams, ask yourself these four questions to determine how to move forward.
- Summer: My dreams are ripe. Even in the heat of summer, we can relax and take a much-needed vacation. We can taste and see that the Lord is good (see: Psalm 34:8).
- Fall: My dreams are harvested. We can mature and save up for the winter season knowing that we are rooted and grounded in love (see: Ephesians 3:17). We can choose not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel (see: Colossians 1:23).
- Winter: My dreams are not dead. Winter brings a much-needed break, although it might feel like coming to a screeching halt. We may feel uncomfortable with the process of solitude and silence, but it will help us uncover what’s in our hearts. To admit, like Elijah, the answer to the question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (see: 1 Kings 19:9, 13).
- Spring: My dreams are newly planted. We may not understand, at first, that the storms and rain are actually a blessing to drive that tiny seed deeper and further under the soil to die so that it can come back to life. We can plant in tears knowing we will harvest with shouts of joy in a future season (see: Psalm 126:5).
Spiritual seasons can be tricky. It took me almost an entire year to realize I was in a winter season last year in Houston and to acknowledge that my dreams were not dead—just waiting for spring.
Now in Austin, I thought that my dreams were coming back to life, only to have a mound of dirt piled on top of me so these baby dreams can grow for a later harvest in a future season. It’s so complicated that I sometimes feel like giving up. Will my desires ever be met? But, if I’m honestly asking myself that question—I already know the answer. Of course they will! God has been faithful before and He will again.
I don’t know what season you are in or how freeing or frustrating it may feel. But don’t quit! Don’t run away! You can bloom where you’re planted.
“There will always be flowers for those who want to see them.” There will always be dreams for those who want to live them.
I’ll ask again.
What season are you in currently and how does it now affect your view of writing?
(i.e. Do you need to rest from words, plant a bunch of words, soften your tone or harvest them all only to offer them back to the Lord?)
You can purchase Unloved on Amazon for only $2.99 to read more!
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