“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”Ecclesiastes 7:8 (ESV)
There’s a valid question a lot of people find themselves asking: “When this season of my life ends, what am I supposed to do next?”
In the present, as my three daughters continue to grow up, my role as parent has shifted, and I find myself tossing that question around in my mind.
In the past, when a job I held for five years was coming to an end, I felt like I asked that question every day.
And when I look into the future and see other various roles that could be ending soon, the question lingers over my calendar.
Seasons come and go. But sometimes we struggle to know just how long we should hold on to a season because we can’t see what’s ahead.
Letting go of a season is challenging, especially if it’s something we really love doing or being a part of. It’s even harder if our identity has become attached to that season, and we wonder if we bring value anywhere else.
Here’s something I’ve come to understand about seasons in our lives — as hard as it can be, there’s always a way to finish a season well.
Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes 7:8, knew that the human heart tends to romanticize the past. Often, as things in our current season of life begin to change when we don’t want them to, we will hold on to all of the best things about that season. Which isn’t always bad … but sometimes it can keep us from seeing the potential of the future.
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
Solomon gives us wisdom about patience and surrendering to God’s pace and plan for seasons in our lives. Every beginning starts with the ending of something else, and finishing seasons well is something we should take time to consider.
Just like when seasons on earth transition from one to the next — like summer to fall — there is evidence of change. In some parts of the world, the leaves change colors, or the temperature fluctuates, and even the amount of daylight goes from more to less.
There will be signs your season is changing too.
You may feel like you are out of ideas, like you’ve done all you can do. Or you may get a sense from the Lord that it’s time to move on to what is next. Sometimes when people hold on to seasons for too long, those people can become easily frustrated or even angry.
Once we realize a season is changing, how do we finish that season well? The second half of today’s key verse has some insight for us:
“… and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
Often pride holds us back from an honest conversation with God about the direction of our life. Pride can also convince us that who and where we’ve been could never match what God has planned ahead for us.
When we have a patient and humble heart, we can ask God for His help in learning to let go of what needs to be let go. To get our hopes up about what is still to come. And we can confidently ask Him, “What’s next?” — trusting He hears that question and will answer it in His timing.
These are some signs of finishing a season well.
We don’t live in yesterday; we live in today. God was there, and God is here. Life is a constant ebb and flow of learning to let go of what’s done and seek what is still yet to be.
I don’t have all the answers to what’s ahead in my life, and there are things I am struggling to let go of — like the good things each of my seasons has held. And you may feel this tension in your soul too.
But I know that, with God, we can finish these seasons well and hold on to hope for what God has planned for us next.
God, thank You for our seasons of life. Help us to know when it’s time to finish and how to finish well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.