Life is made up of seasons. Seasons of change, seasons of growth, seasons of want, and seasons of plenty. Some seasons you might be living on mountain tops while others find you living in the valley. However, seasons are an unspecified period of time. They can last a few months or a few years, but whatever season you are in, typically it is temporary and will pass.
When I think about seasons of life, I am often drawn to the book of Ecclesiastes, which talks repeatedly about seasons—a proper or suitable time for various events in life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” What we find throughout this book is that no matter the season, whether positive or negative, there is purpose and meaning. Seasons of goodness refuel and reignite you, and potentially prepare you for the next season, whatever it may entail. Seasons of hardship, while they may take everything in you to survive, also help you grow in some of the most profound ways.
THE SEASONS OF MILITARY LIFE
Some of my biggest seasons of change have included two cross-country PCS moves, renovating a home while pregnant, and then birthing new life into the world and navigating new motherhood. If I am being honest, each of these seasons were full of hardship and goodness simultaneously. I think most seasons can live in this tension of hardship and goodness. It can be hard to see the goodness sometimes as it can be overshadowed by the hardship, but I’ve so often found in my life that it is in fact there—I need only shift my viewpoint or perspective.
Military families will experience many seasons of change, often every two to four years, if not sooner. Military life is a lifestyle of change: change of duty stations, change of jobs, change of schools and friends, and a change of routines. Seasons of change are inevitable in military life, so how can you find strength in the transitions? How do you bloom where you are planted and then get uprooted and take root again?
I always thought I was someone who didn’t like change. But as I’ve gotten older and have lived this military life year after year, I’ve found change is the catalyst that often propels me into some of my most stretching, growing, and strengthening seasons. It may be hard in the moment of that season of change, as the winds seem to be blowing you every direction, but eventually the winds die down and once the season of change has begun to settle, you can see a stronger version of yourself.
FINDING STRENGTH IN TRANSITION
Strength in transition can be found by being present and content. Contentment is an area of struggle for many. Hello comparison game. I hate when I fall prey to that game because all it does is rob me of joy. So much of the saying “bloom where you are planted” is rooted in being present and content with your current circumstances. Easier said than done, right? Sometimes it takes everything within me to have a change of perspective and a positive attitude about the current season I am in, especially if it’s not where I want to be. But, when I settle in and accept my lot, suddenly I am strengthened by joy and contentment. Enjoying the little things around me, being present and not wishing I were elsewhere, and having gratitude are a few ways I’ve found strength through the act of contentment and the gift of presence.
Another way you can find strength in the seasons of change is by embracing the suck and leaning in. Again, easier said than done. It is hard to lean into the suck and embrace it. I’ll admit, I am the type of person who can and honestly loves to embrace the suck, especially the suck of a hard workout. I guess this is why I make a great group fitness instructor. But, what I’ve found in the group fitness room, and in life, is that when you embrace the seasons of change you are in, especially the sucky ones, you can tap into a reserve of strength you didn’t even know was there. The suck is where the strength begins. I’ve witnessed this in my life and the life of many friends. I’ve experienced this in and out of the gym. The gym serves as my place to train my mind, to mentally prepare for the seasons of change in life and be able to learn how to tap into that reserve of strength within me when hard seasons arise. By embracing where you’re at, acknowledging the suck, and digging your heels in and just living it, you will find a strength you never even knew was possible or existed.
PLANT YOUR SEEDS
When seasons of change come your way, whether it’s a change of duty station or a change in your family dynamic, perhaps adding a new family member, it’s important to dive right in and plant seeds in the soil. The soil may not be perfect or be in an ideal environment, but once you lay those seeds, through time and water (intentionality) they will grow and blossom into something beautiful. It can be hard to want to dive right in or plant seeds when you enter a new season of change that is overwhelming, exhausting, or scary. It doesn’t take a lot, however, to scatter some seeds and watch them germinate, grow, and give you strength.
There have been new duty stations where I was bitter to be there, and I didn’t want to make new friends, go to events, or totally get settled into our new home for fear of getting comfortable and being there a little longer than I’d like. But I remember one place in particular where I remained a little salty the entire first year and then I had a wake-up moment and decided to change my attitude and lay those few seeds. And you know what? Those few seeds blossomed into the most beautiful, supportive, encouraging community I’ve ever known in my life. I wish I would have laid those seeds sooner. But once I did and jumped right in and embraced where we were and my current season, I truly did bloom where I was planted. The crazy thing is, I often look back at that time and really want to go back. I never imagined I’d want to go back to a place I at first loathed so much. Let that be proof that when you embrace your current circumstances, practice being present, find contentment, and lay a few seeds, you will be blooming before you know it.
Change is never easy. We are by nature creatures of habit. But I think you and I both know being comfortable and complacent isn’t always fun either. Next time your season changes and you aren’t quite sure you like where the wind is blowing you, I hope you’ll remember these thoughts. I hope your change will bring about purpose, meaning, joy, and strength. A strength that will keep you going and not just help you survive the season you are in, but truly thrive in it.
Meghan Meredith is an Air Force wife currently living in Atlanta, GA with her husband, baby boy Duke, and fur-baby Nusu. She is the founder of HomeBodySoul, a lifestyle wellness brand for women where she seeks to inspire and educate women on how to best steward their homes, bodies, and souls. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, and a Health/Wellness Coach. She loves green tea, being outdoors, and slow mornings.