On the topic of seasons we walk through in life--winter, spring, summer, fall, etc.--we sometimes experience a season of acceleration. All of a sudden, the speed of life quickens. Growth seems to bud and blossom in time-lapse footage before your very eyes.
Sometimes this comes in the literal form of welcoming a newborn child into the world (obviously, this is much more of an outwardly overt process); at other times, however, this comes in the metaphorical form of welcoming newborn opportunities, ideas, relationships, ventures, transitions, and so on. You experience the excitement of new prospects, as though you've turned a corner you didn't even realize was ahead of you. There is an acceleration in life, as though you have shifted gears and now the world is spinning faster on its axis.
You start to connect the dots between disparate thoughts and ideas that previously seemed unrelated or insignificant. Creativity and energy flow in abundant supply. With 20/20 hindsight, you realize the significance of previous threads that led up to this moment in your life. Purpose and meaning infuse every conversation with people along your path. You see development daily, like the parent of a newborn child witnessing their baby's phenomenal growth. The accelerated growth rate of infancy is unmatched by any other phase of the human lifespan.
Expecting Without Expectancy
Funny thing is, you can find new things being "born" into your life without even realizing that you were "pregnant" with them in the first place. You can be "expecting" without any felt sense of expectancy. It's hard to know what to expect when you're expecting if you don't know that you are expecting in the first place! I am reminded of Isaiah 42 as it relates to seasons like these. In this chapter of scripture, God articulates how he has restrained himself but will now "cry out like a woman in labor" to give birth to His manifest activity in the world. This could apply to His movement through individuals, cities, governments, and--perhaps especially--nations. He asks us ahead of time: Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come? Even the God of the universe vulnerably longs for a friend who will listen to the heartbeat of His dreams. (Sometimes I wonder if we leave Him feeling lonely.)
When you're a passenger in a plane that has just departed the runway, you physically feel a sense of pressure and perhaps a mix of adrenaline and nerves. This is the part of the flight - the part of life - where you need to please remain seated with your seat belt fastened, until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. That doesn't mean playing it safe in life; it means getting your bearings about you and orienting yourself. In a season of acceleration, we are beset by a sense of urgency, and a steely resolve is required in order to refrain from getting jolted by the turbulence. You may even grip the armrests and hold on for the adventure of a lifetime.
Full Speed Ahead
To use another metaphor, imagine the laser-like focus and attention to physical stature that a highly trained sprinter exhibits. When they hear the gunshot of that starter pistol tear through the air, they break away and accelerate, they position themselves while in motion, and they eventually lift their gaze so that their eyes are dead set ahead. The most aerodynamic sprinters aren't looking behind them or even at someone else in another lane. This is a season of life when making ourselves as aerodynamic as possible - streamlining the investment of our time, energy, focus, and talent - is advisable. To mix metaphors once again, would you want to be a passenger on a plane that was not aerodynamic? How about a cube-shaped plane? The more aerodynamic you are, the more efficiently you soar.
Love Is The Movement
One last note: when something new is born into your life, it's okay to be terrified and think, "How on earth do I care for this baby in my arms? I'm so inadequte [ill-equipped, unqualified, etc.]." This is perfectly normal. We need to feel the fear and do it anyway - take the hard step in courage, risk and reach out, dream and dig deep. Trust that love will supersede your personal failings or smallness. Love can cover these a million times over. Besides: in the long run, in the marathon, when the breakneck speed is gone, when the motion blur becomes a still life, we will discover that love is the only force that mattered at all in this race we ran together.
Dr. Parke is a licensed clinical psychologist located in southern California. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Vanguard University, and she also provides therapy to children, teenagers, and college-aged young adults in her private practice.
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