It felt awkward, unnatural, and even painful!
So far I had managed to avoid them, but now came the time I had to face the inevitable and begin practicing bar chords if I wanted to become a more versatile guitar player. Pressing down hard over six steel guitar strings that cut into my index finger while contorting the other three in different directions was not what I had in mind when I joined the music team!
But what began with reluctant aloofness soon turned to excitement as I realised that to the same level I embraced this painful and awkward season was the same level that a whole world of new songs opened up for me.
We can all face awkward seasons in life where things don’t feel as natural or familiar as they used to. Our reaction can be to either avoid the challenge or pretend it doesn’t exist, hoping that we survive just long enough to see it through. But just as refusing to engage with the process of learning bar chords would have kept me from progressing, so too an unwillingness to engage with any awkward season we go through will stall our progress in the things that God has for every one of us.
Due to their rebellion, the Israelites found themselves in a very awkward situation, living as exiles in a foreign land, with people of a foreign language and culture. But right in the midst of their awkward season, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘This is what the… God of Israel says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters… Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” – Jeremiah 29:4-7
Instead of merely surviving the season, God wanted His people to thrive, and as they embraced the temporary, God opened a new world of opportunity before them.
In the same way, to the extent we entrust our future into God’s hands by fully engaging with our seasons of awkwardness is the same extent that He opens up a whole new world for us on the other side!