I live in the South, where lately we have been inundated with rain. So much, that I think my back yard is turning into a swamp. Seriously.
I know that April showers bring May flowers. But we have yet to push through March, and already things are popping up — daffodils and blossoms of every kind are budding. It’s like Spring has sprung, but it’s more like a giant head-fake. I’ve lived here long enough to know Winter still has a thing or two to say before this season is over.
It’s a lot like how I feel sometimes.
You know how it is when so much is happening around you? There is all of this activity, people moving and shaking, going places and doing things, falling in and out of love… and you feel like you are stuck between Winter and Spring. While others are making plans and making memories, you are looking out your window, content to be bundled in your comfy sweater. You would rather stay put. Emotionally and physically, you just can’t seem to move.
It’s hard to get outside yourself, when what you still feel is the chill of a season passed. People watch you, curious to note when your joy will seep back into your spirit. But for you, it feels more like joy has been tucked away in the attic, right along with your Christmas decorations. Boxed and contained, you’re not sure how to act; not sure what is stopping you from stepping out into your new season.
You try to fake it til you make it, but even that gets old.
All I am saying, is the gap between Winter and Spring is real. More than this, it doesn’t last just a few weeks or even months. For some of us, it can be a few years before we poke our heads out of the dirt like crocuses. It’s not how we want to be. We don’t necessarily enjoy spending all our time thinking about what our new season will hold. Like most people, getting out and feeling the sunshine warm upon our faces is exactly what we need. We just don’t know how to get out of the gap.
Perhaps you can relate. You have come through something, a transition, a life experience that has tested and tried you. Now, you are supposed to emerge all bloomy and colorful, and parts of you feel you aren’t ready yet. You’re not a tulip, you’re a dandelion. You think that if you get out there, people are going to see right through you and, with the first gust of wind, you’ll come undone.
In Winter — that grueling, often bitter, cold season — we contract into ourselves. We conserve our resources, doling out only meager portions of self-esteem and expectation, because we don’t want to draw attention to the fact that we are low in spirit. We watch life like we would a movie. Somehow, it doesn’t seem real. It’s for other people, and not ourselves. We just don’t want to get our hopes up.
I am coming to understand, that we all have seasons in the sun, and others when we are tucked safely under umbrellas waiting for our turn to step out again. Each have their purpose; each teach us something. We can’t have one without eventually having the other. Sometimes, it feels like an eternity, to the point we question everything about where we are heading.
I believe that God would have us know that He stands with us while we are waiting. Here, in the humility of transition, we learn to listen more acutely for what He might be telling us. He lifts our heads and reminds us that He is making a way for us. “What I have for you is good,” He says. “Don’t be afraid. Just take one step, and then another… follow Me.”
God knows all our fears. He wants for us to give them to Him. He wants us to trust Him. He wants for us to see all that He is making new for us in our Spring.
Step out of the gap and embrace your new season. It’s okay if it’s still a bit chilly, and rain and wind beat against you a bit. God knows what you’ve been through. He knows that it is scary. But the plans He has for you are to prosper you so that you will grow again in all that awaits you.
Go ahead. Step on out there…. You are a tulip, not a dandelion. Be not afraid. You are His. And you are beautiful.