Survive or Thrive?

Winter is very much underway. Still, I am ever hopeful and looking forward to spring.

The transition to my “personal spring” will require me to cut off a few “dead things,” and work a bit harder.  The promise of renewal encourages me to look forward to good things in my future.

Do I know what my good things are?

I haven’t a clue.

I do anticipate the best from a God Who is faithful.

Many of us merely survive. Periods of icy dormancy leave us barely making when it appears nothing productive is happening. To simply exist during those times when our winters wear us down is quite a blessing!

Yet, one thing I’ve noticed is that even after their season changes, some people fail to change with their season.

We can become so accustomed to struggling we fail to let go of our harsh past which is necessary to open ourselves up to a sun filled (Son filled?) future.

If we become stuck in a winter mentality, we can’t move forward into opportunities to thrive. New experiences that challenge us to bloom, grow or expand are dismissed because we fail to step out of our doldrums.  Some people habitually live in a mindset of winter dormancy long after that season has come and gone.

I’ve been there.

I readily admit it took effort and repetition on my part to finally move out of the dark and into the Light!

Today I was reminded of a goal I tossed aside years ago. The harsh reality of one particular “winter” buried not only my aspiration but my inspiration as well.

I felt like I was running on empty. Looking back on it I was carried more than I ran. Regardless, today God led me to give that opportunity a second look. The season for this particular goal may have come once more.

Very few of us will bloom all the time. That just isn’t the way life happens.  We must stay mindful and Spirit led to act when it is time to get moving. Doubt, fear and insecurities will keep us “stuck” if we allow it.

Our “winters” are as unique as we are but winter eventually yields to spring.

It may be the frustration of finding a job. Strained relationships. Family responsibilities. The death of a loved one. Financial burdens. Yet, when the “odds” are stacked against us, whatever the situation, we must dare to make a move. God’s blessings aren’t based on odds or luck!

Our first step of faith can move us into a new season! The decision to thrive instead of survive mandates we enjoy the journey instead of fighting to reach a destination.

We may not like those first vital steps. There may will be some discomfort. We may be forced to interact with people unlike ourselves. It can be frightening.

It may very well be exactly what we need.

What about you?

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV


The Dead of Winter

Pictured above is one of my favorite hydrangea plants. I planted it shortly after my father died over ten years ago and its beauty and vibrancy has brought me great joy. But it doesn’t so hot right now. In fact it looks very much dead.

Dead. Dry. And lifeless.

There are times in our lives when we have situations or circumstances that also appear to be dead. All of the energy we have placed into a project or even a person appears to have been wasted. The harvest we may have once anticipated from seeds sown may be non-existent.

The good news for each of us is even when we are in “the dead of winter,” spring will eventually come.

When we are at a loss, God is not. He has answers and solutions for problems we can barely comprehend, let alone solve. His love for us doesn’t stop and He never fails to provide and intervene on our behalf even though we can’t see it. With God, things are not always as they seem. That’s why we have to see with eyes of faith His promises and not simply view things as they appear before us.

As with my plant, some situations may look like they are ready for the trash pile. But never lose faith in the resurrection power of our God. It didn’t just stop at the tomb. His power is available to us now. We need only have faith for it and believe there is nothing too hard for our God. Even our most barren winters, He can use to benefit us.

Winter is not usually the season people are drawn to. It’s cold. Activities may be limited. There’s not as much “fun in the sun.”

Most people love the promise of the harvest in the fall. The warmth and beauty of spring and summer are also favorites. But after Christmas has past, many of us become afflicted with the winter “blahs.” If you happen to live in an area that is hammered by cold and snow, you often can’t wait for winter to simply pass.

Yet, in the winter things that look dead often are not. Life continues, still. In our personal “winters” God is still in motion, still moving, working, creating and saving.

Do your finances look dead? Is it a friendship that could use some new “life?” It may your own thoughts or mindset that could benefit from a resurrection.  A job situation? A marriage? Maybe even your relationship with God could stand some new life!

I have learned that for my hydrangea to bloom, that old dead wood is necessary. In fact, if you cut it away, the tree will again turn green, but it will not bloom. The old wood is necessary for new blooms.

Sometimes our “winters” are necessary for us to bloom as well. We may need time to be still. We may require the cold and quiet time to cultivate those things within us that will allow us to bloom later in due season.

If you are frustrated, weary or impatient in your current winter state, have faith that you, too, will bloom. Like my hydrangea, the apparent death is merely an empty illusion. Life will spring forth once again.

With God, even death holds promise for the future.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3 NKJV

“For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him,”
Luke 20:38 NKJV

“Therefore, He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14 NKJV