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Valuing the Reset

Over the past twenty years in church planting I’ve experienced so many seasons; seasons of life, seasons of ministry, seasons of marriage, seasons of parenthood, and more I can’t even remember. It would be nice if they were neatly defined and packaged, but they aren’t. They’re very much like the seasons of the year. You know generally when they’re coming, but sometimes they come early, sometimes they come late. Most of the time you wake up and say, oh wow, it’s winter. Ok, it’s summer. Did fall happen? They run into and through one another leaving your wardrobe confused and often behind. Life seasons are the same.

But like your wardrobe, seasons of life require different tools, different speeds, and different priorities. You need to pack up your toddler parenting tools and get some hand-me-down elementary parenting tools. You need to restart date night. You need to get serious about your health. It’s a new season. Time for change.

But there’s no announcement and there’s no natural transition. One season just flows into the next, with no break, no memo to get the winter clothes out of storage. Which often leaves us wearing a windbreaker in the snow.

Have you ever felt like that in life? “This windbreaker worked really well a few months ago, but now, it may be the death of me!”

There was a season where I felt like I did a decent job with changing seasons. It wasn’t a long season, unfortunately, but it did exist. During that time I practiced something that I’m looking to re-establish this coming year. It’s the only thing that’s helped me navigate this with any success.

I intentionally planned season gaps.

Season gaps are not long. They are two to three-day stretches where you allow the previous season to die and you re-establish the new season. You break out of your routine, you blow it up, and you build a routine that fits the next season. I can’t transition seasons on the run. You may be able to, but I can’t. Life isn’t going to give you a season gap. You have to create it.

This is especially critical for intense seasons. When I’m running at full speed, like in Easter Season, I can’t slow down. I need to stop and start again — slowly.

Try transitioning out of the newborn phase, while running at full speed — it doesn’t work. Having a baby is chaos, and you’ll live in that chaos for a very long time if you don’t stop and rebuild at six months. You don’t need to be in chaos at the six-month mark. It’s an entirely new season and there are a lot of things you need to re-establish, but you won’t if you don’t stop.

You need season gaps. Life isn’t going to give them to you. You need to intentionally plan them. I suggest at least three a year. You know generally when seasons are going to change for you. Put in a gap. Use your vacation for this. It’s valuable.

We don’t have to find ourselves wearing a windbreaker in the snow. We just have to be intentional about changing wardrobes.

I share this with you now because the week after Christmas is the best gap if you don’t fill it with things to do. Christmas is a blitz in a lot of ways. Take a few days, blow up the Christmas rush and the past season, rebuild the routine, and head into a new season!

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