In Kindergarten we learn about the 4 seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring. And those 4 become the norm for life for us. As children, we come to anticipate Summer and the change from school days to fun days. We even learn to associate the weather patterns of the seasons, depending on where we live.
Today I would like to suggest that there might be a 5th season that is not defined by months or years, but it is defined by circumstances. A commentator I heard this week calls it the season of LANGUISHING.
- According to Google.com, languish can mean any of these things:
- To lose or lack vitality; grow weak or feeble.
- To suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation.
- Merriam-Webster defines it as:
- : to be or become feeble, weak, or enervated
- : to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality
- : to become dispirited (Having lost enthusiasm and hope: disheartened)
The commentator was not speaking to caregivers, but to a general audience. He described our current world situation as being so weighty, that the population in general seems to be languishing. Then he went on to define that term and support his position.
My thoughts immediately went to caregivers, and how the second part of Google’s definition describes our situation – “to suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation.” That is a bit tongue-in-cheek, however, because we are not forced to be caregivers. It is what we choose out of love. However, there are times we may feel trapped in that place.
Those feelings can cause depression or apathy or even anger and bitterness. When we ad in the winter doldrums, life could look very bleak. At this point, there are at least two choices.
Number one – we could wallow in self-pity and just give up. But let’s not do that.
Number two – we could implement some strategies to help us live through this season of life – this languishing – until we emerge on the other side. We can even THRIVE! This is a much better choice!
So, how do we do it? Full disclosure here – I have nothing new to suggest, but I do have experience in feeling this way, and I can tell you that I refuse to give in to this languishing. Here are some ways I avoid it that might resonate with you.
First, I remind myself that God is with me. I am not alone, and He knows exactly what I’m going through. He has not left me here to deal with this by myself. Instead, He has given me His Holy Spirit within me to guide me and comfort me. And He has given me the Bible to remind me of His love for me while I cared for my husband and now into this season of my life.
Second, I try to read and watch only positive media. Negativity is addictive and invasive, and I don’t need it in my life.
Third, I surround myself with things that bring me joy – nature, art, music, and I focus on their beauty. Are you thinking of something that brings you joy?
Fourth, I seek the company and care of my friends and family. I am blessed with so many who are encouraging, and spending time with them lifts my spirit. So, I lean into them.
And lastly, I remind myself that I am blessed by God in so many ways. I had the strength and ability to care for my husband, and I am so thankful for that. And now, when I feel as if I’m languishing, I will count my blessings and give thanks to God who supplies all my needs.
It may be Winter here, and some may say this is a season of “languishing”, but we don’t have to give in to those depressive thoughts. We don’t have to languish. Instead, God is our hope and our salvation. Let’s not fear this time of our lives. Let’s give thanks to the One who is with us and gives us strength and hope.
Thanks for reading. I would love to hear about how YOU rise above these languishing days. God bless each of you this week. I’m praying for you.