I’m feeling really good right now. It smells like Fall, and I tend to get a burst of energy before seasonal affective disorder sets in. I’m feeling secure in life, in friendships, and in Jesus.
This wasn’t the case about 5 months ago. I had convinced myself I wasn’t fulfilling any purpose, my friends would be bailing as soon as they had the chance, and that Jesus was sick of my perpetual failure.
Have you heard the expression, “God is calling me into a season of (insert word)”? I always think I’m too good for catchy church slogans, but I was definitely hiding behind that one. I thought God was calling me to feel insecure in my life. That sounds completely ridiculous when I write it out. But Satan often makes us believe absurdities.
The truth is that God is more faithful than seasons. I understand that this talk of “seasons” is an innocent phrase, but it takes the blame off of us and places it on God when things don’t go the way we were hoping. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t want x because God hasn’t placed it on my heart”, or “God isn’t placing the desire on my heart to date this guy.” No sis, you just don’t like him. And that’s OKAY! But it’s on you, not God! God respects our feelings and allows us to experience them freely.
I think of this especially today on my feast day, the Memorial of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Thérèse has been following me around for just about as long as I can remember. I received statues, paintings, and dolls of her at my First Communion! I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that her little self, like my little self, was a brat. Reading her story, especially the one where her sister asked her which toy she would pick and she said, “all of them,” made me realize that we would definitely be homies. She cried, constantly, too — another trait we have in common.
The “seasons” of Thérèse’s life were filled with uncertainty and tragedy. My heart swells at the thought of her younger sadness, as I felt it too. I was told my emotional nature would stop me from being holy or having a place in this world. “But I love my friend Thérèse, how can this be?” I would say in my prayers, begging God to take away my sadness that was looked down upon. I saw tough exterior, “powering through”, or “getting over it” as the goal to equal holiness.
How did my little friend do it? How was she holy in all the uncertain seasons of her life? How did she struggle with mental illness and still manage to be a saint?
Over the years, the Lord has patiently shown me He will love me despite my “seasons”. That there is no goal to be reached before He loves me. There’s no emotional bar I must hit before He calls me to holiness. If I keep waiting to hit that bar I will never start.
Thérèse embraced her sufferings and they are the very thing that purified her. So, I have told myself, “Enough with the ‘seasons’”. Jesus is simply calling me to holiness. The journey there will ebb and flow, but He can make it all as beautiful as the most perfect rose.