Have you found yourself in an unexpected season? Can I go as far to say that it may even be an unwanted season? I am here to tell you that you are not alone in this. Through my own unexpected seasons, I have found a consistent process that carries me through each time. These 5 questions changed everything.
5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself When You Move Into An Unexpected Season
Who am I?
When it’s time to move into an unexpected season, at some point you are going to question your identity. As Christians, we have the knowledge that our identity comes from Christ alone, but, if I can just be honest, we often get distracted and seek our identity elsewhere.
For me, I found my identity in the church. Not in God – in the church. It’s where I went to work, it’s where I went to service on Sunday, and it’s where I served. I often heard it described as having a “crush” on the church. I didn’t know it was happening, but it’s what I did. So, to my surprise, when I was called into a season of being a stay at home mom and I had to leave the calling I had there, I felt like I lost my identity.
So how do you remember who you are?
Turn to Scripture.
For Christians, this may seem pretty obvious, I know, but when you’re all up in your feelings, this is usually pretty tough to do. When you seek God out and ask Him for Wisdom, He is sure to answer you [James 1:5].
It’s easy to desperately search for an answer when you are entering into an unexpected (or even unwanted) season, but be patient with this, it’s not always about finding answers, it’s about finding comfort in Him and knowing He is the one in control. So when you turn to the word, fight the overwhelming desire to ask “Why?” and start with “Who?”
When you begin to discover that you were finding your identity in the wrong places, you are able to experience incredible freedom that will give you joy in a season that you least expected.
Who should I surround myself with?
New seasons brings new people. You may not notice it at first, you may feel incredibly lonely or even incredibly scared to turn to people who are in the same season as you, because this means you are “accepting” the season before you are ready. I want to encourage you to reach out.
These people may be found in a small group through your church or even a Facebook group online. Ask God to bring these people to you and to reveal those people who are also in the same season. For me, it was reaching out to other stay at home moms, it started with a simple post on Facebook asking SAHM’s what their favorite part of being a SAHM was and what their biggest challenge was.
What are my priorities?
So you’re heading into an unexpected season. For some, it may be losing a job, becoming newly single, or discovering a health issue. Regardless, when a new season starts, new priorities come. The sooner you face the fact that your priorities have changed, the easier it will be to overcome the sense of disappointment you have for wanting to do all the things you did before, and not being able to now.
Sit down and make a list.
What are 3 priorities you have in this season? Is it focusing on God? Searching for a new job? Is it exercising? Changing your diet? Focusing on your mental health? Growing as a better wife or parent?
Say “no” to non-priorities.
Things WILL come up that don’t fit into these areas, although you can’t say “no” to everything that needs to get done, you can place a boundary on your priorities and say “no” to the things that take time from you being able to focus on them.
What should I surround myself with?
Just like we re-evaluated who to surround yourself with, it’s time for you to think about what you are surrounding yourself with. This doesn’t always mean removing things from your life that distract you from this season. It could also mean adding things to your routine.
For example, when I am focusing on my leadership, I read leadership books and I listen to leadership podcasts. I do the same thing for parenting, or marriage, or my spiritual walk. What resources are at your fingertips that you could bring into this season with you?
Where have I been?
Every part of your life has ultimately led to this point. Every past experience, good or bad, is a tool to be used as you enter into this unexpected season. God is the author of our lives and nothing happens by accident. Whether or not this was a season you were ready for, He knew about it and has it planned out for you.
When we begin to consider where we have been, we are able to determine what we are able to bring into this new season. For me, I knew that leaving the workplace was going to be hard, but I knew that I cared about leadership and that I could encourage other moms to lead in more aspects of their life.
Where could this take me?
Emotions make us…well, emotional. When you’re standing in the doorway of a new season its really difficult to catch a full glimpse of where it could take you. There are hallways to walk through and other rooms to see. Being clouded by your emotions doesn’t exactly help you to look at this in a positive light.
So, for a moment, put your emotions aside and try to look at it as an opportunity rather than a restriction. Who could this help you inspire, what new things could you discover about yourself along the way? How can you make the most of this? In the meantime, live each day making the best out of whatever is in front of you, soon you will unwrap the answers to these questions.
When can I grieve?
You have to give yourself time to grieve. This only needs to happen when the unexpected season was unwanted. The amount of time to grieve is different for everyone.
It’s incredibly easy to feel ashamed during this time, especially when friends and family are encouraging you to hurry along. It doesn’t matter how much you “know” about the bible, or how many verses your friends send you to encourage you. Knowledge and emotion often don’t coincide until you have had time to bridge your emotions with your intellect. The only way you can properly do this is through healthy grieving.
What does healthy grieving look like? It’s productive. A simple way to make sure your grieving is productive is to ask yourself if there is anything you are able to do to move toward acceptance. For me, it was joining a stay at home mom’s group, serving (even if it was a small amount here and there), and looking for simple ways to enjoy my new season, like reading books on parenting and marriage. In these small steps, you will often be lead to our next question….
When is it time to accept?
Again, having knowledge of where you are and accepting where you are, are two different things. Acceptance looks different for everyone. For some, you may just need to have a breaking point where you audibly tell yourself that you accept this new season. For others, it may be accepting bits and pieces as you process through each part of them.
You really know that it’s time to accept when you have given yourself ample time for grieving and have begun to take next steps to move forward. You will begin to understand that you can no longer hold on to the pain and anger from before and move into the joy that’s waiting for you on the other side.
Through prayer, and intentional steps, I believe you will know when the right time to accept is for you.
Finally, a question that will lead us to all the answers. unfortunately, we may never know. Sorry to disappoint you, friend. It could be months, years, and even decades before you can look back at this moment and answer “why?” You may find out through asking yourself the above simple questions, you may even have your own assumptions and intuitions about it. At the end of the day, it’s most important to not focus on the why so much. Why not? I’m gonna let you figure that out for yourself. 😉
What did you discover when you had to move into an unexpected season?