Hey, this is Haley! My mom and I were talking about thee season of life I’m in right now and she asked me if I would put my thoughts into a blog.
I’m not usually one to pick a word for the year.(I did for 2020 though, and that will be a post of its own!). The last few years, I’ve sensed themes as the year unfolds and have leaned into what God’s doing around that theme in my life. For 2017, the theme was “faithful.” For 2018 and 2019, it was was “harvest.”
As I look back on the last decade, I can easily split my 20s into three distinct eras. For me, 20-23 were the college years. They were the years of learning who I was as a person outside of my parents’ home. They were SO fun!
Era Two was the wandering years, from about 24-26 for me. They were the hard years of the transition from college kid to adulthood. They were for discovering what it means to be a believer in Jesus on my own. They were for finding my career as well as finding my voice. They were for growing, and the growing pains were very real.
But Era Three. Wow! In a society and culture where we value youth, I never would have guessed Era Three (27-29) would be my favorite. I mean these are the years where you are *basically* 30, or at least that’s how I’ve thought of them in my head the last few years. But for me, Era Three has been the Harvest Season.
Let me back up. In 2016, I really started sensing God pressing me to join a church. I had been floating around between a few, but with no roots planted anywhere. I could tell that it was time to find a church home to call my own and to start investing my time in one place. A friend invited me to her church the first Sunday of 2017, and the second I walked in, I knew I was home. Fast forward a year. I’d been attending regularly, moved my tithe, did the classes to become a member all the church stuff. I knew it was time for more. So I joined a small group and started making friends.
All of the sudden I found myself on a spiritual high that has continued into a season of growth. We had a guest speaker come to our Wednesday service this past week and she talked about a season called “kairos” which is the Greek word for God’s time. It’s a season of fruit and of harvest, when things God has set in motion come to fruition.
At the beginning of 2019, I really started experiencing what the fullness and richness of life in Jesus looked like on a daily basis. It was almost like I was walking on a cloud. I started thinking about how this happened and I could pinpoint it exactly. I was in community with women in my same season of life. I was diving deeper into the Word. I was reaping the harvest of everything I had planted the whole second half of the year before. This was where the seeds were planted. This took effort, patience and time.
We are an impatient culture. We are a society of hurry. We get frustrated when Instagram takes more than a second to load. We plant things in faith and then wake up the next morning to run outside and check on our “farm.” We get frustrated because there are no crops. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about farming, gardening, soil, plants, crops or anything related. I grew up in the suburbs with a Publix one mile from my house. But I know enough to know that you can’t plant seeds one day and expect an apple the next. We also can’t plant seeds, leave them there and hope to see a tree in six months. I don’t know all the steps between planting seeds and picking apples off a tree, but I know there are steps (watering maybe?) in between. I look at my season of going deeper in my faith — going to small group even when I was tired, reading the chapter of the book we were discussing when I wanted to be watching Netflix, opening my Bible when I just wanted to listen to the next episode of my current podcast obsession, spending time in relationship with girls much younger than myself — all these things as spiritual disciplines. Each as a standalone event can be viewed as relatively insignificant but when strung together across one whole season, they produced a bountiful harvest in my life. I felt more peace. I was more patient. My empathy and compassion levels were at an all-time high. I was overflowing with joy that only comes from Jesus. I truly felt like my heart could not contain all the joy for life that I felt. And the more I experienced Harvest, the more I wanted it.
I think when we experience Harvest and mountaintop seasons, we are super quick to take our foot off the gas and just coast without even realizing we’re doing that. We live in the wonder of God and enjoy him for who He is and what he’s doing. All of that is great. Our job is to give God glory for all that He has done and praise Him for his goodness and kindness.
But we can’t take our foot off the gas. What happens when you enjoy the fruit of a harvest but don’t plant any new seeds? A famine. If we want fruit in the next season, we have to do the work now. Just because the breakthrough happens doesn’t mean the work stops. I’m not advocating for an unsustainable grind that leaves us all worn out and weary. I’m talking daily and weekly disciplines that over time become who we are, a rhythm and flow of life with Jesus. Moments with God every single day. Reading scripture like it’s our job. Living in community with people of strong faith. Serving. Actively being like Jesus.
I’m not suggesting that preparing this way will mean that bad seasons will never happen again. Hurricanes will come through life and destroy everything. We can’t know when those will hit. But I do know that our preparation will still produce fruit, even in hard seasons. He might be harder to see, but God will still be there. He has never changed. He promises us that.
Can I challenge you today in the same way I’ve challenged myself this whole last year?
If you aren’t in a Harvest season yet, what steps can you take to get there?
If you are in one, what are you doing to prepare for the next season? Eventually this season will end. What seeds are you planting to prevent the famine that could follow?
You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
They sow fields and plant vineyards that yield a fruitful harvest.
He blesses them, and they multiply greatly; he does not let their livestock decrease.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.