For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

It’s a new year! I am a big fan of starting over. I like to look at a new year like I look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” It’s the new year—the old is gone, and the new is here.

My friend was feeling overwhelmed about this past year and all the many balls she had dropped. I encouraged her to make peace with those things, take it up with the Lord, and then, for goodness’ sake, leave it in 2016! Ain’t nobody got time for that! I didn’t do everything I wanted to do last year, and I made my share of mistakes, but I’m growing. Like Joyce Meyers says, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” The question is, are you growing? If you are, then allow 2016 to be your teacher.

Towards the end of the year I felt a nudging from the Lord. He was asking me to lay something down and to pick something up. The thing that He asked me to lay down was something that’s been in my heart to do since I was in Bible college. And it’s something I know the Lord has called me to do—and not only has He called me to do it, but He’s also confirmed His calling by anointing me in it. I knew it was from Him because not only did I have a peace about it, but I was also actually feeling excited for this new season.

It’s a season. I know this particular thing will be laid down for a season, and when He’s ready for me to pick it back up, He knows where to find me. Romans 11:29 (NLT) says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.”

Sometimes we fear that if God asks us to lay something down, we might not get it back, so we hold on tightly. But last time I checked, it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away (Job 1:21). It’s all His anyways.

When we lived in Colorado, I was just starting to get my feet wet in this whole writing and speaking journey. We lived there for 5 ½ years. I was a part of an incredible writers’ group—many of whom were published authors. For a gal just starting out, this group was a dream! (Actually, for anyone wanting to pursue writing, this group was a dream). I sat there, week after week, like a baby sponge … just soaking it up. I still have all my notes from that group. And where we lived was also close to many well-known writers’ conferences. I attended a few and met many wonderful people. But then in 2010 we found ourselves moving far, far away, to the ends of the earth. Okay, not the ends of the earth, but to the ends of Texas!

I found myself worried. I thought my writing career could possibly be over. I know, I know … dramatic much?! I will never forget the conversation I had with my husband as we were preparing to leave. I shared my fears and how I had searched online and couldn’t find ANY Christian writers where we were moving to, and there definitely weren’t any Christian writers’ conferences. I asked if maybe we were making a mistake. His words have stuck with me to this day: “Hunny, God knows where to find you.” He was so right. He knows where to find me. It was a trust issue on my part. I thought if I left, that perhaps God didn’t know where to find the writers to connect me to, and maybe He didn’t even know how to put me in touch with the people I needed to be in touch with when the time came. He was/is the One who gave me the desire to write in the first place, and so I needed to trust that He knew what He was doing. He is the Author of my seasons.

 

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
—Corrie ten Boom

 

Know your seasons, sister.

A wise woman knows her seasons. She knows when to lay some things down and when to pick them up. I don’t want to push my way into something that’s not my season just because I want it really bad. I can’t make something happen that’s not in God’s season for me and then just expect God to bless it. And I can’t try to hold on to something that He’s asking me to lay down. You might be really good at a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean you should be doing all of those things.

Do you want to thrive in 2017? Do you want to grow closer to the Lord? Do you want His many blessings poured out on you and your family? Pray and ask Him to show you what season you’re in. Ask Him if there’s anything He wants you to lay down. I promise you, even if it’s hard, there is blessing in a surrendered season. I promise.

Let’s pray: Lord, as we begin a new year, we also begin a new season. We want You. We want more of Your presence. Show us if there’s anything we’ve been holding on to that You’re wanting us to let go of. Show us if we need to pick up something new or different. I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit, You would just make it so clear. You give us the grace for each season. You enable and equip us to carry out that which You’ve called us to do in this new season. Open our ears and let us hear what Your Spirit is saying. We know that Your blessings are in our obedience. We surrender afresh to You, and we say, Lord, let Your will be done. Don’t let my flesh get in the way of what You’re doing. Have Your good and perfect way. Amen.

“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
Daniel 2:21 (ESV)

 

 

Celeste Barnard is an extrovert by nature but secretly has some introvert tendencies. Originally from Northern California, she and her Texas husband have been in ministry and married for almost 18 years. Together, they have three teens and a fat little pug named Latte. She is a writer and a speaker who is passionate about sharing with others what God has done in her life. She has written a devotional called Reflections and a Be Your Best Brave Journal, and she has a podcast on iTunes called Be Your Best Brave. She and her husband recently embarked on a God-sized dream. They started a nonprofit called Big Red Ministries (BigRedMinistries.org). They do camps, retreats, and events year-round.

You can find her at celestebarnard.com.
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