Seasons of the Spiritual Life

What does your spiritual season look like? Are you in a an Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer Season?

Most of my life, I have lived in places that had very distinct seasons – cool, crisp, and colorful Autumns; cold, snowy Winters; cool fragrant Springs bursting with colorful flower blossoms everywhere; and hot, humid, rainy, and lush green Summers.  Each season has had its delights, as well as its drawbacks.

For a few years, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area (at the time I wrote this blog), and while we have seasons in the Bay Area too, they are much more subtle than the seasons in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. It has taken me some time to get used to this.

Autumn is quite hot for some time, but as time goes along, the temperature begins to cool and the deciduous shrubs and trees (while much fewer in number than the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic) do change color and lose leaves.  Winter is full of rain, and while the deciduous plants are leafless and brown, the surrounding landscape becomes increasingly lush and green. Early Spring is the most colorful time of year, with beautiful, green hills and wildflowers everywhere. And finally, the Summer months are increasingly dry, brown, and hot, yet flowers continue to blossom throughout that time, and fruits and vegetables continue to be harvested.

If you come from other parts of the U.S. or the world, your experience might be even different than mine, but no matter where any of us come from, we can learn something about our own spiritual lives from the natural seasons of the physical world.

Sue Currie, DMin and Director of Selah – a training program in spiritual direction – has rightly observed that throughout our lifetimes, we cycle in and out of different seasons of the spiritual life and that these seasons seem to mimic the seasons of the natural world.

Thus, if this is true, it is helpful for us to be attentive to the spiritual season we are currently inhabiting because the ways we connect with God and others will vary throughout these seasons. We might find that tried and true spiritual disciplines that helped us find intimacy with God in a previous season are just not working now, and that is okay. In each season, God invites us to commune with Him in ways that are appropriate to this season.

Of course, we can never fully understand the depths of the work that God is doing in us at various times throughout our lives, but the spiritual seasons at least give us words we can use as we try to understand and talk about what is happening in our souls.

So let’s explore these seasons, first noting the rhythms that take place in the seasons of the natural world and then seeing how they correspond to the spiritual seasons we experience in life.  We will find that even in places as diverse as the Northeast and Northern California, where the seasons look quite different from each other that similar processes are happening in each season below the surface. Similarly, while the seasons in one person’s spiritual life may look different from another person’s seasons, there are similar processes happening within each person.

So what is going on in the natural seasons and then the corresponding spiritual seasons?  What spiritual season are you currently inhabiting and what spiritual disciplines might aid you in your walk with the Lord at this time?  Click the links below to explore further:

Stay tuned for more on this topic soon!

Page Written by Kristen Yates

Back to Knowing Yourself