SEASONS

     There’s a coolness in the air this morning; a comfortable Fall breeze. The trees outside dance, their limbs, and branches, giving praise to The Creator. And, it makes me think about just how good God really is.

     Everything outside looks so beautiful. The changing of seasons always is. The greeness that we so patiently wait for after the coldness of Winter, suddenly turns to faded yellow,  burnt orange, and brick red. The leaves fall like confetti; a celebration of The Most High.

     Clearly, change can be beautiful. If the trees, and the grass, can welcome seasonal change with praise, why can’t we? We hold on to our green season(our younger years), and the people, and things, that are a part of it, as if our lives depend on it. But, a lot of times, it is to our own detriment. It doesn’t do us any good.

“I believe that there’s a growing season. And, I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.”

-Steve Southerland

     The older I got, the more the Lord began to work on my heart, and mind.  The things I used to do, the cussing, the arguing, the drinking until I got that feeling, all seemed so wrong for me. None of it was who my parents had raised me to be. None of that went on in my parent’s home. The world had morphed me into this thing, this sinful creature that I no longer even recognized. And, suddenly I could see it. It was all so ugly!

     “I’ll just change” I told myself. “No need to stop being around my friends. This ain’t about them. It’s about me” I said.

     And, I meant that. I needed to work on myself. I needed to let God work on me. I could change seasons, I could grow, no matter the soil. But, anything planted in a contaminated garden will, more than likely, absorb the contaminants. Arrogance made me believe otherwise.

     Everyday, I was around the same people. I had one “friend” on Dayton’s west side, one “friend” to the east. When I would go to the west, we’d spend hour, upon hour, talking about nothing but men.

     “They’re dogs! Every, single one of them!” Friend would say. “So, I’m a treat ’em like dogs, and make ’em chase tail!” She’d exclaim while pouring a glass of Vodka and orange juice for herself. “You want one?”

     “No, I’m good.” I’d tell her, all the while, laughing at everything she had just said.

     “What? You too good to drink with me all of a sudden?”

     “No, baby girl! It’s nothing like that. I just don’t want to drink any more. The look on her face told me that she didn’t understand where I was coming from, so I offered an excuse.

     “Girl, college is not a joke. I can’t be drinking all day, then trying to keep up with homework, too.” I dropped my head, having not told her the whole truth.

     “Girl, one drink ain’t gone hurt nothing!” She poured me one. And, like always, I threw it back; one gulp.

     And, just like that, I had given in to temptation. But, I couldn’t blame it on Friend. I had given in; she didn’t hold a gun to my head.  We had been acquaintances for almost twenty-five years, and I didn’t want to lose that over a drink. Everyday, for months, the same pattern repeated itself. Only now, I had something I was more afraid of losing, my soul. I had changed. I didn’t want my life to be defined by drunken stoopers, and male bashing. I wanted more. I wanted salvation.

     “Lord, help me find a way out!” I prayed. I trusted. I believed.

     Friend to the east noticed the change right away. I had tied myself up with school, and with church, and I didn’t see her as much as I used to.

     “I feel like you done got brand new” she told me one day over the phone.

     At first, I was totally offended. I knew that her “brand new” comment was meant as a negative; to make me feel bad for not doing the things that I used to do.

     “What do you mean? Oh, because I’m trying to do better for myself, I’m brand new?” I asked her, my voice uncovering my annoyance.

     I listened to her retort, but I didn’t hear it. I was so aggravated, so upset that wanting to better myself had actually hurt a “friend”. The idea of that had me mystified. I couldn’t wait for her to finish whatever she had to say, so I interrupted her.

     “First off, you should be happy to see me changing, especially for the better. You think a person should spend time, and money, going to school for higher education, and remain the same? Do you think I tell you so much about church, and God, and what He’s doing in my life, only to keep doing the same mess? That makes no sense to me, Friend!”

     Pacing back, and forth across the room, my cellphone growing hot against my cheek, I waited for her response. But, no response came. She hung up the phone. I tossed my phone onto the coffee table, and fought back the tears.

     That’s when it hit me. Two very different friends, with two distinct personalities, and neither encouraged a positive change in my life. Neither of them understood, partially because I never really explained to them that my season had changed. I was no longer interested in living a wordly life; I wasn’t the same. But, they were.

     Eventually, I gave them both my testimony. I told them how God had changed my heart. The things that had once made me the life of the party, the in-your-faceness, the drunken wittiness, the “let’s use past hurt to dog men”attitude, were no longer of any use to me. It was a new season for me. And, I loved it. It was beautiful! But, neither friendship survived.

     When you recognize your seasonal change, embrace it, right off. Like the trees, dance in celebration. Embrace it before everything, and everyone, you know.  God doesn’t take you higher, bring you over, and through, for you to keep it a secret. Testify! It could cost you some people that you call friends, but that’s ok. Your season, is not theirs to embrace. The place where God may be taking you, may not be well suited for them. But, you can’t ” straddle” the fence. It is impossible to change, and remain the same; unheard of to grow, and remain stagnant, ridiculous to try and serve two masters.

“choose ye this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord”

Joshua 24:15

 

 

 

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