“Ever wonder why cars have the warning, ‘Objects in mirror
are closer than they appear’ only on the passenger-side-view mirror? The mirror
on the passenger side is convex while the
mirror on the driver’s side is flat. . . .
The passenger-side mirror provides a wider view of what is around us. The
problem is that this broader image produced by the convex mirror makes objects
look smaller than they actually are. Generally, when we see a person of average
height who looks tiny, we assume the person is far away from us. That
perception, however, is not true in the case of the passenger-side mirror. Even
though a person or a car may appear small
and far away it isn’t!”
Car manufacturers remind us of the discrepancy we see in our
passenger-side mirror with the sticker that
reads, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” When we glance in that mirror we are reminded to adjust our perceptions based on the reality
that the view in the mirror is distorted.
Relationships may fail because we do not understand that our
thinking is connected to the life season in which we are living. Relationships
can suffer or fail due to our inability to recognize the beginning, ending, or
duration of the season in which we find ourselves. Misunderstandings, marriage
trouble, hurt friendships, and missed connections can result when we fail to
consider how our seasons are affecting us or those we love.
Perceptions may be out of touch with reality. Our view of
life may be distorted because we have false assumptions about the way things
are. Sometimes we believe that things can stay the same forever.
Our season in life will distort our perception. Author John Ortberg wrote, “We are all viewing ourselves in
the fun house mirror. . . . That is why we are often stunned when someone else
sees past our defenses into our souls. It is not that they are geniuses. It is
just that I am sitting right in my blindspot.”
Distorted perceptions can be
related to the life stages of the children. I remember having car seats
strapped into both of our cars. The entire back seat was occupied by our children’s car seats. I could not envision a
time when I could use the backseat without moving a car seat out of the way.
Those days are gone now.
I am sad when I look at the backseat of the car now. I do
not find sippy cups rolling around under the seat. I no longer have the little
mirror that I used to keep an eye on the kids on my dashboard. That season of
my life is over! Bending over to unbuckle
little children is no longer a part of my routine.
We will soon notice the leaves changing outside. Don’t you
love the autumn season? The weather is excellent.
It is my favorite season. I have a limited number of fall seasons to enjoy in my lifespan. Each year, I grow to
appreciate the seasons more and more. I don’t want to miss the beauty of the
Changes in seasons occur in life. When we go through changes
in seasons, we can become depressed. I talked to a family of empty nesters
once. In rapid succession, their children
moved off to college and career. The mother was in tears for months. The father
hid from this reality by pursuing his career more diligently. Needless to say,
it was a stressful time.
I have sat with many who have aging parents. One lady cried
her eyes out as she told me that she was going to have to broach the subject of not driving to her
elderly mother. The widow had gotten lost several times, and the daughter was fearful of what could happen. Another
season in both of their lives had ended,
and a new one was beginning.
Please understand my point. Your closest relationships can
experience tension and turmoil because you fail to pause and think about the
seasons of your lives together. Changes affect emotion. Changes impact our
routines, patterns, and calendars. Changes may be
related to our physical health. If we allow these changes to go by
without serious consideration, we can be startled by the implications these
changes have on our relationships.
God reminds us in
Scripture about the seasons of life. The truly wise know that all their seasons
are in God’s hand and that there is a right time for each season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under
2 a time to be born,
and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time
to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a
time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time
5 a time to cast away
stones, and a time to gather stones
a time to embrace, and a time
to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time
to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a
time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
God made time to be filled
with his plans.
Psalm 31:15a My times are in your hand.
We cannot control time. We use the seasons of time to
fulfill God’s purpose. If we cannot accept that we do not have control over
time, we will be hopelessly frustrated. If we trust the God of time and seasons,
we will find joy and purpose.
God is in complete control of his world. God has made this incredible world so that events come and go on
the right schedule—at God’s timing. This fallen world has downs as well as ups.
Seasons come with joy. Seasons come with sorrow. How we respond to each season
is crucial. We have the opportunity to grow and reflect God’s glory in each
season we face.
Remember that God does an excellent job of marking time and
making plans. Only God can be sovereign over this world. Nothing catches him by
surprise. Not even a bird dies without God noticing.
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the
ground apart from your Father. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not
one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
We can be sure that nothing happens by accident. God does
have a plan. God holds everything in his all-powerful hands. God’s plan
reflects his infinite wisdom—the good we face and the challenges. We would be
naïve to believe that we could live our lives without pain, sorrow, or
When we face a test that we do not understand, we can trust God
for guidance and direction.
Listen to the words of a wise king to his son:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do
not lean on your own understanding. 6 In
all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
When Carol and I were planning on adopting our first child, it was a time to seek. Our needs were great. We needed funding, direction, and help.
The calling we felt to adopt a child kept us motivated, but the seeking was not
We did experience moments when I thought that it was time to
stop seeking and give up the adoption process. I am sure that I was raw
emotionally. I know that I had anxiety and fear about whether adopting a child
was possible. This was a challenging
season for our family.
Although each of us have unique experiences in life, we all
go through seasons. Most of us share common experiences and can learn from
Moving from my early adult years into the middle adult years
has been a challenging season. I look at myself in the mirror, and I am reminded
that I am not in my twenties anymore. I want to hold on to life as I knew it
then. However, this is not reality. Aging is a reality. We can cover up the
gray and buy more flattering clothes, but only God can rule over the seasons.
Daniel 2:21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings
and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to
those who have understanding.
The wisest man except Jesus, King Solomon, said that life
has its moments. We should recognize these moments and live in light of this
reality. When we acknowledge how these seasons can impact our emotions, mind,
and body, we are more prepared. Life’s moments affect our relationships.
Think about you and your spouse. You may be close in age,
but going through different seasons. You may be in great health. Your spouse
may be struggling with an illness. One may have an
excellent job. The other may dread going to work. For one it is time to
plant. For the other it is time to uproot.
The results of going through different seasons from those you
love are many. You may become jealous of the other person. Misunderstandings
happen easily when two people close to each other are going through different
seasons in life.Seasons can create a
range of emotions that can bring stress
upon the relationship: anger, grief, pain, frustration, envy, and
disillusionment. Even joyous change can create pressure.
1. Consider the season you are going through right now. Remember,
all seasons we go through give us opportunities to grow in our relationship
with Jesus Christ. Seasons in life have their plusses and minuses.What is going on in your life right now? What has changed? What is new? Even if you feel like your
much older, remember that God has particular
feelings about that.
Psalm 92:12 The righteous flourish like the
palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Psalm 92:14 They still bear fruit in old
are ever full of sap and green.
Becoming aware of ourselves is not easy. We
are usually more self-centered than we are self-aware. To be self-aware, we must
take the time to reflect and pray. To
understand our own blessings and
challenges, we need to think through our lives through the lens of Scripture.
The Word of God is a mirror that helps us to understand who we are.
James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the
word and not a doer,he is like a man who
looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
2. Accept the season you and your
loved ones are experiencing. Some things we accept with joy. Other things,
like poor health and death, we dread.
Believe that God will use this season for his glory and purposes. When you find yourself
struggling to accept the seasonsyou are facing, try these suggestions:
in the previous seasons.
·Talk to someone with
a gift for encouraging others.
someone who is going through a similar season well.
The key to dealing with the seasons
of life is deciding to accept them. Live for this season in a way that prepares
you for the one that will follow. Take care of yourself and those you love. Be
alert to the present realities. Be willing to adapt to the changes.
What seasons are those closest to you going through? How can you be there for them
and support them?
Georgia Shaffer, Avoiding
the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2014),
John Ortbert, The Me I Want to Be (Grand Rapids, MI:
Zondervan, 2010), 157.