I know you may be familiar with the text you're about to read. The Byrds used it to give guts to the song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" back in the mid-60's... it's been shared at more than one memorial service as a means of comfort to tragedy... and even Kevin Bacon quoted it in Footloose when John Lithgow inappropriately told him the Lord was against dancing (even though the whole town was made up of professional dancing teenagers).
Quiet those references down for a moment, because sometimes our familiarity with something sacred can turn it into something less than what it is. Lean into what God is about to breathe on you through this:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
- a time to be born and a time to die,
- a time to plant and a time to uproot,
- a time to kill and a time to heal,
- a time to tear down and a time to build,
- a time to weep and a time to laugh,
- a time to mourn and a time to dance,
- a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
- a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
- a time to search and a time to give up,
- a time to keep and a time to throw away.
- a time to tear and a time to mend,
- a time to be silent and a time to speak,
- a time to love and a time to hate,
- a time for war and a time for peace.
Which of those words jump out to you in each phrase? Answering that can help you gain a footing regarding what has happened, is happening, and will happen to you. Whether you're facing the consequences of your own hands or are engaged in circumstances that others have put upon you, either can bring extreme joy... or exhausting tension.
And apparently... there is a time for both.
For a while, I have been practicing and putting intentional space in my routine to better hear from God and understand the "time" I'm in.
- All throughout the day, I pray a simple prayer that asks, "God, where are you at in this and how should I respond?"
- Once a day, I build in a pocket of time to reflect on what the Holy Spirit has shown me and how He is nudging me.
- Once a week, I take a Sabbath where my family and I spend our time differently than the other six days... all to remind us that the world doesn't run on our energy and voice mail works just fine.
- Once a month, I get away for a day of reconnecting. That sounds hyper spiritual, but it's just a simple practice of slowing down, looking into people (instead of just "at" people), walking in familiar places and situations with a fresh set of eyes, and asking God to break my heart in all the places it's gotten hard.
And it just might help us remember what matters most.