Understanding The Seasons of Life and Leadership

Understanding The Seasons of Life and Leadership July 9, 2024

Seasons Changing in a Laundromat: Reflections on Leadership and Spiritual Growth

This morning, as I am sitting in my local laundromat, waiting for the ping to indicate that my clothes are ready to move to the dryer, I’m reminded of how the changing of seasons impacts our spiritual lives and Christian leadership.

We are about 7 days from the arrival of our brand-new in-home washer and dryer, and about 7 days past the time when doing a load of laundry was absolutely necessary. Between traveling and holidays, it has been easy for this task to slip through the cracks, and now as I’m sitting here in this (thankfully) empty, and surprisingly peaceful, laundromat, I can’t help but to feel a small pang of regret as this short season of lugging my family laundry here each week is coming to an end.

Isn’t that the odd thing about seasons?

In the moment, it might be hard to discern clearly what exactly is happening under the surface, let alone appreciate the slow burn of change. But as I’m sitting here, I realize though I won’t miss the rising costs of weekly laundry, I will miss the excursion of going out on ‘laundry day’, I will miss the carved-out pockets of focused time, 32 and 47 minutes respectively, as I wait for my clothes to wash and then dry.

Time that I have used to reflect on scripture, or map out my week, or dream with the Lord, or like now, write out my musings.

I will miss this short season.

I am grateful to have a new washer and dryer! I am grateful to save some money! I am grateful for the time I will potentially save, but what about the beauty experienced in the slow inefficiency? When you’ve walked through a handful of seasons, it isn’t always fun to figure out what’s required as you step out of one place and walk into the next, no matter how promising the destination might be.

What are the seasons of life? 

Just as the trees communicate the changing of seasons, from warm autumn leaves falling to being buried alive under the harsh winter snow, nourishing the damp dirt in the spring to allow for flourishing in the summer.. so do our lives, and especially our leadership, cycle through similar seasons.  

Autumn Seasons: Letting Go

I love the fall. I love the festivals and the smells of fresh baked cookies and pies in the air. I love the joy as people marvel at the colors blooming all around. Autumn is beautiful. It’s a time when we can really sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor, savoring the beauty all around us with satisfied contentment. However, in all of the splendor of the falling leaves and autumn festivals, we might miss that this season is about transition. The falling leaves indicate the quick shift from the light richness of summer—when we might not have even noticed the sprouting growth because of all the fun we were having—to the death and stillness of winter.

Winter Seasons: Embracing Stillness

With its cold bitterness, winter often feels like a demanding and empty season. It’s a time many of us approach with trepidation, forgetting the ample invitations it extends for us to slow down and rest. Yet, winter, with its seemingly barren landscape, is when the autumn seeds are buried underground, out of sight. The seeds of autumn are covered and protected, preparing for the vibrant rebirth of spring! The thing about winter that many miss, primarily because of its paradoxical nature, is that winter is a season of stillness that brings clarity.  The distractions of the warmer months fade away, leaving behind eyes to clearly see who you are, who God is, what matters, and what does not.

Spring Seasons: Witnessing Renewal

As winter comes to a close, we all start to eagerly anticipate the spring—its afternoon showers and budding wildflowers feel like such a respite after the dark, cold days of winter. But before spring becomes a beauty to appreciate, it is often a muddy mess. The melting snow and frequent rains create a landscape that seems chaotic and unrefined. Yet, it is precisely in this mud that the conditions for rebirth are found. In the spring, the seeds that fell in autumn and were buried in the winter, slowly but surely start to grow.

And once they begin to grow, there is no stopping them!

Spring is a time of hope. It is a time of victory over the hardness of winter. Just as the earth bursts forth with new life, so too can we find renewed energy and purpose. The beauty of spring is gracious and never-ending, for in the spring, growth begets growth. One small sprout leads to another, and soon enough, an entire field is covered in blossoms. This transformation is a powerful reminder that even the most challenging seasons of life—those that feel muddy and messy—can give way to incredible growth and renewal.

Summer Seasons: Cultivating Abundance

Now, summer makes us feel alive. Summer is a season that breathes life into every fiber of our being. As the days stretch longer and the sun bathes the world in its golden glow, we find ourselves invigorated and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Unlike the effortless growth of spring, where hope blossoms almost magically, summer demands a fierce tenacity from us. It’s a time when we roll up our sleeves, immerse ourselves in hard work, and cultivate the abundance that will sustain us in the seasons to come.  All around you, like autumn, you can see the fruit of your labor, but in the summer you’re putting your hand on the plow to cultivate a harvest.

How do seasons impact our leadership? 

It is important to discern the seasons of our life and embrace all of its beauty, plus the limitations each season ushers in. For those of us who are responsible for leading others, it is especially important to honor the seasons of our life, as it impacts the strength and vivacity of our leadership. Embracing seasons is often the very distinction between offering abundant life to others or displaying a life of stunted faith.

Autumn invites us to experience the gospel.

Autumn highlights the beauty of the gospel to us, showing that daily dyings are a necessary requirement for new life. Just as the leaves must fall for the trees to rejuvenate, we too must embrace the seasons of letting go in our lives. If we try to ignore the decay of autumn, our leadership becomes inauthentic and bland, without the vitality and power that a gospel-shaped life produces.

The falling leaves are our reminder that growth often involves a process of shedding what no longer serves us, making space for something new and life-giving. This lesson, though sometimes painful, is crucial for authentic leadership. It teaches us that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is a testament to the courage and resilience that forms when we lean into the work of the Spirit in our lives. By accepting and modeling this truth, we inspire those we lead to embrace their own cycles of letting go and renewal.

Winter says ‘do not be afraid, I am with you’.

To embrace winter means to courageously step into the heart of the things we often fear the most—lack, doubt, and being alone. It’s in these moments of stark cold and seemingly barren landscapes that we are invited to confront our deepest insecurities. Winter, in its raw and unfiltered form, challenges us to dig deeper into our faith, to find warmth not just in physical comforts but in the steadfastness of The Spirit and the unwavering presence of God.

But it’s not until we choose to step full of faith (or maybe clinging weakly to faith) into this bitter season, that we’ll move through it and taste and see the goodness of the Lord. It’s essential to remember that winter, with all its challenges, is a temporary season. But if we choose not to press into it, it might prolong that fears, and the hardness of winter will always cast a shadow in any other season we enter.

Spring invites us to rest in the in-between.

Spring often tempts us to discount the necessity of mud, to discount the richness present in its damp soil. As those who prefer things clean, pretty, and neat, we might be inclined to ‘tidy up’ the soil, bypassing the very conditions essential for seeds to grow abundantly. Yet, spring offers an invitation to rest in the in-between. It’s a time to lament the pain of winter, praise God for the clarity it produced, and courageously wade through the mud to witness the seeds sprout.

Summer says ‘well done, good and faithful servant’.

Yet, ironically, when summer comes, because of its extravagance, a scarcity mindset can also sprout like weeds. It’s as if, in spite of the lushness, we begin to fear the drought. It’s as if, in spite of the lushness, we begin to fear the drought. We worry there’s not enough—enough opportunities, enough blessings, enough favor to go around! This mindset can sneak into our leadership roles, causing us to clutch tightly to what we have, hesitant to share or celebrate the successes of others, as if God’s favor were a fleeting, finite resource.

But, much like the farmer who puts his hand on the plow, we are called to dig deep, to tend to our responsibilities with care and commitment. And just like the farmer who knows the value of each seed and the importance of each plow stroke, we too are called to value the allowances of the summer. A farmer doesn’t hoard seeds out of fear of the future; instead, he plants them, trusting in the cycles of the earth and the provision of the Creator. In leadership, we are invited to dig deep, to invest in our responsibilities with unwavering care and commitment. We are called to recognize and appreciate the favor of God in the present moment, knowing that His blessings are not confined to a single season.

Concluding Thoughts on the Seasons of Life

Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t leave us to navigate these seasons on our own. Whether on a mountaintop overlooking an abundant scene, lying in the darkest valley waiting for the storm to pass, or somewhere in between, God is with us in every moment. It’s in the thick of the journey that we truly experience the depth of His love and the strength of His guidance.

Always near.

Always present.

Always a source of wisdom and comfort.

Peace within the transition of seasons

Imagine the peace that comes from knowing that no matter where we find ourselves on our leadership paths, we are never alone. The Holy Spirit is our companion, gently leading us, providing clarity when our path seems uncertain, and offering solace when our hearts are heavy.

As we navigate through these seasons, both in our personal lives and our leadership roles, let us remain open to the lessons they offer. Let us embrace the beauty and growth that each season brings, finding strength and inspiration in the rhythms of life. In doing so, we not only enrich our own spiritual journey but also empower those we lead to navigate their own seasons with grace and faith.

Remember, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. We are held in the hand of our loving Father. We are guided by the Spirit who keeps us, convicts us, encourages us, and points us to the life and model of the one who saved us, Jesus. This journey is not one we walk alone; we are part of a larger body of faith, knit together by shared experiences, trials, and triumphs. It is in this very journey, that we find a sense of belonging and purpose, knowing that our steps are directed by Him who loves us beyond measure and has called us to partner with Him, to see His glory released all over the Earth!

Take a moment to reflect:

  • What season do you find yourself in?
  • What are the unique blessings of your season and what are the limitations?
  • Where do you sense an invitation from God?
  • What could he be drawing out of you in this season?


To dive more into this topic: Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer. “Seasons” is a wise metaphor for the cycles of life

New here? Everyday Shalom is all about living in the shalom of God every day, to lead others to God’s shalom in every season, and has been particularly crafted to serve women who lead as ministry- whether at home, in their communities, in the marketplace, on platforms or in the pews! Check us out on Instagram or explore our blog for more enriching content on spiritual formation and leadership! You can also download our free resources to begin your journey towards leading from a place of rest, with power and deep delight, through every season and stage. 

About Lauren James
Lauren James is passionate about serving Christian women who lead as ministry—whether at home, in their communities, in the marketplace, on platforms or in pews—by providing practical hands-on leadership training and soul care through spiritual direction and coaching. She is on a mission to equip women to lead others to life from a place of rest, with power and deep delight, through every season and stage. Check her out on Instagram here. You can read more about the author here.

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