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Changing Seasons – The Rhythm of the Dance

Last minute road trips, delayed vacations, August is sliding by. Signs abound that fall peeks around the corner; teetering stacks of school supplies; pumpkins appearing in shop windows and sweaters promoted in sweltering heat. Summer is almost gone. Another season breaks upon us. Daily life moves on with the expected rhythm of changing seasons.


Last minute road trips, delayed vacations, August is sliding by. Signs abound that fall peeks around the corner; teetering stacks of school supplies; pumpkins appearing in shop windows and sweaters promoted in sweltering heat. Summer is almost gone. Another season breaks upon us. Daily life moves on with the expected rhythm of changing seasons.

But how go the rhythms of your life? Seasons in life set a cadence, a rhythm as well, each bringing new challenges and new opportunities.

Surely the description our multi-taking woman of Proverbs 31spans all the seasons of her active life. We are encouraged by her example of the broad opportunities open to a biblical woman, from homemaker to real estate tycoon. Yes, a woman can have it all; but realistically just not all at once. While we enjoy a multitude of options, not all can be pursued at the same time. Dancing in rhythm invites us to savor different opportunities as we identify life’s different and shifting seasons.

I recall fall seasons when I had school children; new clothes, new lunchboxes, and new schools. Now I watch neighbor’s children line up in ragged rows to catch that yellow school bus while I sip a second cup of coffee. I’m no longer in the “season of little feet” with preschoolers or even the “season of schooldays” with carpools and sports practices.

But I’ve discovered that each succeeding season presents unique opportunities and new challenges, even my current “senior season.” Sadly in seasons past, not wanting to miss anything, I too frequently stuffed into every season every potential opportunity simultaneously. Believing I must “grab all the gusto” I crammed too many things into every season resulting in a harried schedule and hurried life.

I think that temptation still lures my younger friends today. This fall, let’s seek the rhythm of the dance in our particular season. Let’s discuss and embrace the opportunities and challenges of our current season and discover some constants that flow through them all?There are some, after all the sun dawns and sets in every season. Maybe blogging could be a constant, what do you think? Music anyone?

Gwynne Johnson

Gwynne Johnson currently serves on the Board of Entrust, Inc., an international education and training mission where she authored the Entrust curriculum, Developing a Discerning Heart. She recently served as Co-Chair of the training project, Christian Women in Partnership, Russia and as Senior Director of Women's Ministry at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. Gwynne has a M.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She currently lives in Huntsville, Texas with her husband of 58 years, Don. She works part-time in her daughter and granddaughter's bakery "The Best Box Ever," where she gets paid in cookies.

11 Comments

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    Dianne

    I wish I had really thought
    I wish I had really thought through the seasons of life as a younger woman, I might have been more content with the limitations and opportunities each season brings, instead of wanting “all”, trying to do “all things” believing I needed to do “all things” in each season.
    For two generations (and more but especially post WWII) women have been struggling to balance work, home, relaxation, church and community responsibilities (without guilt). Could the answer be in the “seasons” of life?
    I’d like to hear what some readers say is the definition of “seasons” and their experiences?

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    Heather A. Goodman

    This is a sometimes

    This is a sometimes struggle with me. At times, I feel like I need to work everything in, but I think that’s mostly passed. I’m learning that what I’m doing right now is good and God-given and enough. It took some time to learn to relax, but I’ve learned that. I don’t have to cram every second of every day with something "productive." I’m learning there’s a difference, actually, between productive and disciplined. Living a disciplined life is good. Living a productive life, when it comes down to it, is up to God. It’s his work.

    Those are some jumbled thoughts. I’ll blame it on a Monday morning. Or maybe the Olympics. Whichever works.

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    darren

    Impacting others
    I think an important consideration in how we live in different seasons (i.e. how much (or little) activity we cram into it) is how our living affects others — both those close to us whom we love as well as those whom we share this world. For example, I find myself making choices thinking, "Sure, I’m gifted in that area or skilled with that task and I can take that on" only later to realize that by my taking it on, I’ve caused someone close to me to be out of rhythm — kids missing their time with me, spouse having to take on an extra task because I’ve pushed it off my full plate (only to make theirs more full)! I find that I take for granted that someone else will clean up after me all too often . . . maybe I should blame that on my mom!Likewise, living out of balance (or out of season perhaps) can cause me to make choices that are efficient or convenient but not always healthy, wise or considerate of others — decisions like how I spend my money, what I eat for dinner, or what causes I have the time and energy to invest in. I really like Gwynne’s point that it is a lifelong dance and all the tasks don’t have to be put into one season. And I like Heather’s comment about leading a disciplined life vs. productive life. It’s the implementation of those ideas I find so difficult when faced with new obligations and opportunities.

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    Sharifa Stevens

    What a Graceful Metaphor…

    …for a sometimes chaotic reality: "dance."

    Sometimes, it seems more like "wrestling," "bungee-jumping," "tripping-and-falling"…Laughing

    But don’t you think sometimes that we (the evangelical community of women) worship at the altar of Super Busy? We laud the "martyr" women who do everything, and tend to everybody else? We over-program? Over-commit?

    Maybe it’s just me…? I had to learn how to say no. Can’t dance with everybody all the time!

    • Avatar

      Gwynne Johnson

      Love that thought
      Great thought…only one "partner" in the dance at once…We may change partners, but in only a few dances (think folk dances) do we see multiple partners.

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    Sue Bohlin

    Doing it all

    My best friend was deeply impacted by a speaker she heard a number of years ago at a Junior League meeting. Addressing this group of go-getters, the speaker simply pointed out that they really didn’t have to do it all right then. "Leave some things for the second forty years of your lives," she counseled the women.

    It was good advice then. . . and it has ripened even more since then.

    Now that we are waaaaay into the second forty years of our lives, my friend and I talk about how much we enjoy being "seasoned saints." How much we enjoy not caring what others think anywhere near as much. How much we enjoy being able to do things in this season that we were neither equipped nor "old enough" to do well before we earned the life experience we have now. How much we enjoy resting in the confidence that comes from having lived life before the Lord and knowing that He is good and He truly does make everything work together for good, so there’s no point in sweating the small stuff.

    It’s good to enjoy the rhythm of this mid-life dance, and I thank you for this challenge, dear Gwynne!

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    S in MO

    Being led and not leading
    Thank you for all the comments here in this blog! I was seeking wholeheartedly wisdom on this topic of seasonal changes and choices. I love the analogy of dancing. Last year I did it all I felt, this year, I’m “tweaking” and trying to make wise choices in terms of how I spend my time and talents, how much I do, and how involved I get. It does boil down to affecting others as well. We all need to be reminded to not sweat the small stuff and dance one-on-one with Our Lord as He leads us, not the “trip and fall” or “bungee jumping” method like mentioned above.

    God bless your season of change and attitude!