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Day 1: Looking for “Peak Week”

Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Not too long ago, I found myself sitting on the porch of a cabin nestled somewhere deep in the Smokey Mountains – just as I had during the Octobers of previous years. 

Without really realizing it, it had become my unplanned habit to journey to the mountains in time for peak week – the time whenever the changing leaves of Fall were at their most vibrant. Being there whenever the leaves changed was so powerful to me because they were a beautiful physical reminder of the changing seasons. My trips to the mountains became a marker of sorts for my own seasons and being there for the ushering in of a new season as my own personal seasons changed felt so symbolic. 

The last time I went, I figured out which day of the month was supposed to be the height of color and I planned my trip accordingly. 8 days for Fall in the mountains. It was supposed to be beautiful. 

Days 1, 3, and 7 came with the date for peak color quickly passing by. I could just begin to make out the evidence of change as I looked across the landscape. Little bright flecks of orange, red, and yellow were beginning to pop out amongst the sea of green. But as my departure loomed in the distance, it hit me – peak week was going to happen without me. 

As much as I had planned, it wasn’t going to happen for me this year. And as much as I would have liked to, I couldn’t speed the season up so it would fit my timetable. 

As I sat in the truck with all my bags packed for the long ride home across state lines, my eyes scanned the mountain range in a last ditch effort to get a glimpse of the new season I had hoped to witness. 

I think about that moment a lot – the realization that the season I wanted to be in or witness was going to happen without me. 

How often does that seem to happen in our own individual lives? How often do we begin to see little glimpses of the season we so desperately long to be in? Or what feels even more challenging is seeing other people enter into and experience the seasons we so deeply wish for our own selves. They are experiencing peak week, if you will, and we must settle for the little glimpses that feel more like a tease than a promise of what is possible. 

As I drove away from the mountains, a bit disappointed that I’d have to wait yet another year to see the leaves change, I realized something that has become so profound to my own heart – not all seasons are meant for me right now and that is okay. It is good. 

You see, if we are unwilling to let go of our idea of what should have been, we will never be able to embrace the fullness of the season that is now.

Perhaps that seems a bit oversimplified. But, if we are going to spend a couple of days together talking about embracing our current season, we must first leave behind our unmet expectations of what life should look like by now. And I also realize that isn’t necessarily an easy ask. But it is an invitation to trust.

Father God, 

I come before you and I bring all of the unmet expectations for this season that I have been holding on to. I lift it up to you and thank you for your wisdom and sovereignty that see fit to have me live out the season that I am currently in. Thank you for the reminder that not all seasons are for me right now, and that is still good. While I am here in this season, filled with good things and hard things, I ask that you give me the grace I need to steward it well.

In your name,

Amen.

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