Dr Bill Price shares how to prepare for the season ahead of life and persevere in hard times, offering practical coaching insights.
Someone once told me that God does not wear a watch but also that God seems to work in seasons. There is a season and a time for everything in our lives. Part of our development and growth includes us each moving through various seasons in our lives, including hard times.
When the Apostle Paul was in prison he wrote to Timothy asking him to bring him his coat before the winter came. He understood that he had to prepare himself. If you had to measure your life at present in terms of temperature, what would it be? Hot, cold, or in between? Let’s look at our lives and try making a self-evaluation towards some personal discoveries.
Everyone has a set of internal criteria by which we measure and evaluate how well we are doing in terms of life; this includes interpersonal and intra-personal relationships, wellness, and spirituality. All of this information bundled together gives us a strategy by which we then judge whether things are good, fair, poor, or below average.
It does not necessarily mean our internal convincing strategy is true all the time. We must therefore be careful how we use that internal convincing strategy to measure our reality. Jesus said that ‘the truth shall set you free’. The Greek word used for truth is ‘reality’. What Jesus was saying is that knowing reality and the connection to that reality would set us free.
Spiritual coaching exercise to prepare for the season ahead
Take a few moments, get a blank piece of paper and a pen and become a doer rather than a I-want-to-be-all-I-wish-I-could-be person. On your piece of paper draw symbols for each of the areas on the list below, arranging them in any way or order:
- My prayer life
- Bible reading
- Bible study
- Meditation or SELAH times; Contemplation on God
- Praise in its various forms
- Worship in its various forms
- Giving and stewardship
- Giving of T.I.M.E. (Time and Talent; Influence; Money and Energy/passion)
- Involvement in community projects
- Involvement in missional projects
- Involvement in a small group or interest group
- Personal intimacy in connection with God
- Personal intimacy and connection with my spouse
- Developing myself, my spouse and our marriage relationship with the intention
- Personal intimacy and connection with my children
- Living out my talent, skills, and competencies in the workplace to the glory of God
- Living a balanced life
- Being a disciple of Christ
- Being a friend of Christ
[Feel free to add any other criteria that comes to mind]
Once you have taken each of the criteria and represented it with a symbol, ask the Lord to guide you and inspire you. Taking each area measure yourself on a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 = ice cold, indifferent and totally numb to 5 = hot, totally connected and fully alive.
Once you have done this, sit back and ask the Lord to help you with insight whether all the scores are a fair representation of your life in the season in which you find yourself right now. Looking more deeply into this overview of your life also ask yourself the question, “What are the seasons I am presently experiencing in my life?”
Maybe at this point you could cluster a few symbols that would represent springtime, winter, autumn or summer. Life is never simple. Our lives are far too creative for that! God has woven our lives as a tapestry of complexity that is synergistic and connected to more than what we can fully understand and realise right now.
Try not to allow fear, guilt or other people’s definitions and examples to unduly influence you in the final exercise. Revisit each of the symbols and being as realistic as possible write down the score at which you would like to be (use a different colour ink).
Focus on the difference between the two scores for each symbol and prayerfully consider things that will need your attention in order to better the score. Ideally you are looking at a six month period of change and not an overnight miracle! In your journal write down each step you identify towards helping you achieve your goal.
Choose one area for each day of the month and determine to focus on that during your personal devotions. Ask the Lord for guidance in putting things into practice over the next six months. Diarise a reminder to redo this exercise in five month’s time. Measure the same criteria and you will be surprised to see how you have grown and developed in these areas with the help of God.
Self governance in all seasons
Never be afraid to evaluate and measure with the Lord’s guidance those things that really matter. Someone once wrote that a life not measured is a life not worth living.
God has given each and every one of us the capacity and responsibility with which we can do self-governance in our lives during all seasons. Like Paul we may not be able to make winter go away, but we can with pro-active and focussed intention cover ourselves to prevent a cold grip of reality in our lives to cool down the passion that drives our God-given purpose.
May it be well with your soul, your mind, your body and your spirit. May the warmth of God’s love in your heart, by His Spirit continue to warm every area of your life and cause you to be a shining example to all whom you meet and are acquainted with.
For more encouraging articles, coaching exercises etc to help you prepare for the season ahead, visit Dr Bill Price’s blog, Lead, Live, Love.