Monday, October 28, 2013

Three seasons

The last two years of my life have, in a lot of ways, become the most important years of my entire life - certainly in my adult life, anyway. Some of the things that happened were seemingly very random, yet God clearly spoke to me recently that everything has happened exactly as He ordained it and has happened at just the right time. God spoke to me of 3 seasons over the past 2 years - the season of Death, the season of Burial, and the season of Resurrection.

This is of course a parallel with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the first day, He died a brutal death on the cross. On the second day, His body was buried and a stone rolled over the mouth of the tomb, where He was to be held for evermore (or so the people who buried Him thought). On the third day, Jesus cast off the shackles of death and rose again, from the darkest place imaginable to a place of brilliant light and wholeness, having accomplished the greatest mission anyone would ever accomplish in the history of the world - to open the door for the souls of human beings to be saved. This journey cost Him everything. But it gained Him everything as well and achieved something that could never have been achieved by anyone else.

The season of Death began when I went through burnout in August 2011. My health died, my job died, many relationships either died or were dealt fatal blows that would eventually bleed out later on. This was a hard period - a very lean period where I was too sick to work so most of my time was spent at home, trying to work through my emotions and gain some understanding of what had just happened to me. Meanwhile those who in a lot of ways played a part in my downfall seemed happy and prosperous. This was a very, very bleak time. I picked up some bad habits which I hadn't used for years, such as cigarette smoking, mainly due to the horrible stress I was going through at the time. During this time two living environments in Taupo folded up and I ended up moving back home with my parents in Tauranga in June 2012. The season of death lasted one year.

From August 2012, the season of Burial began. Things had already died - now the funeral arrangements were being made and the death was made final. This was the season where I began cutting my ties with those who had played a part in my downfall in Taupo and where many of the relationships God didn't want involved in my future for various reasons were steadily weeded out of my life. This was the season where I finally saw that I needed to start coming off antidepressant medication for the first time in 8 years. As before, this was a season of deep soul searching and self analysis. It was almost 100% inwardly focused. Despite how bleak this season was, and how much loss was involved, I began to see a real strength begin to develop in myself during this time. I saw a boldness and a courage begin to emerge that I had never seen before and I also saw something amazing happen through my book being picked up by a major publishing house in the USA which would see my story propelled onto the world stage.

From August 2013, the season of Resurrection began. It started with the beginning of a new relationship with my girlfriend. Other amazing things were to follow. I cast off the last of the wrong friendships that had been holding me back with a new found sense of courage that my girlfriend helped me to discover within myself. It has continued to blossom into something new as after being out of work for nearly a year and then having a job which was only part time, I now have a good, respectable full time job which I will start in the middle of next month. I feel stronger, healthier and more confident in myself than ever before. However, this is only the beginning of this new season. More things are going to follow. The seasons of death and burial each lasted a day in the life of Jesus - or a year, in the life of me. However, the season of resurrection lasted forever. I believe my life is going to be similar. I have gone through something which probably would have killed someone weaker than I was - yet I got through it and I am a stronger, healthier person than I've ever been as a result.

I see a vision of myself as a butterfly that has been locked in a chrysalis of development for a very long time. It's a very small place to be in - tiny, in fact, and there was no room for anyone except myself. There was nothing happening except self analysis, emotional processing, self development, emotional healing. That's all my life has been about over these past two years. During that time I've felt a sense of almost claustrophobia - yet I always knew it was too soon to be emerging from this place of development as you have to make sure that you don't leave the place of growth and development too early. In the same way a butterfly will die if it exits the chrysalis too early - I couldn't leave this place of development until I was fully ready as any left over baggage that wasn't fully processed would be carried with me into the promised land I was walking into, and corrupt my blessing. I had to learn to not only accept the place that I was in, but to embrace it and really make the most of it to make sure that I was as strong and well developed emotionally as I could possibly be so that I could prepare myself properly for the future.

I believe I am out of this place of development now, and I am now learning to think more about other people rather than just myself all the time. However, due to the time I have spent thinking about myself and processing my own issues, I am able to speak into the lives of others with a level of depth and clarity I never would have had otherwise. However, it's not as if I have just blossomed immediately. I remember seeing the monarch butterflies we had at our house when I was growing up. When they came out of the chrysalis, they didn't just fly away straight away. They had to spend time straightening up their wings, allowing them to dry out, and probably went for a few shaky test flights before they really had the confidence to begin soaring. I believe this is the place that I am in now.

Ultimately I am beginning to walk in the season of victory, and though it's unfamiliar as I've never walked in a season like this before, I feel as if I am ready for it. I had to go through the spiritual journey I've been on over the past two years to be able to get to where I am today because without those experiences I never would be able to walk in the season I am in now. I would have just polluted my blessings with the darkness in myself. Fortunately, thanks to those two years of death and burial, I've been able to overcome most of it so that I am now able to contain the blessings that have come into my life.

If you find yourself in a place of confusion and uncertainty in your life, or if you're going through some terrible pain similar to what I've been through, don't lose heart. God hasn't forgotten about you. He knows what He's doing in your life. He's preparing you for greater things and the sooner you learn to embrace the season of preparation, the sooner you will be ready for the good things He's got for you and wants you to walk into. He's keeping you in that place of development not to hurt you - but because it's where you need to be. God loves you and wants you to walk into new things as a whole, strong, emotionally and spiritually healthy human being because if you walk in to a new thing with old baggage, you will corrupt it. So stay strong. Embrace the pain of growth and remember that it's for a good purpose.

Take care.

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