For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a ESV)
I love the book of Ecclesiastes. When I read it I feel like King Solomon is an older relative of mine that has taken me under his wing and he is imparting his wisdom to me. I envision us sitting in Starbucks and he starts to reminisce about his life and all he has learned. I sit there attentively; sipping on my tall Caramel Apple Spice ( I don't like coffee) and hang on every word. That is just one of the many reasons that drew me to Ecclesiastes for this post. But to be honest, this blog post has been one that I have been struggling with and praying over for quite a while now and Ecclesiastes 3 came to my mind during my quiet time a couple weeks ago. The struggle in this blog was not in trying to come up with an idea, but in trying to convey what this passage means to me and how it has taken root in my life recently. So here we go, I pray the Lord uses these words to love on and speak to others.
Presently I am sitting right smack dab in the middle of a season much like that of verse 3; “ a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.” For me personally, this is a hard place to be because my flesh is constantly at war with my Spirit and I feel on somedays the battle is one of the toughest I have been through in a long time. The Lord has, graciously, placed me in this area of “death” and “breaking down” to ultimately grow me and build me up. He is using this time to break down walls, idols, pride and my self-sufficient attitude to build me up to be the woman in HIM who I am called to be. I am being constantly reminded that if there is going to be growth there has to a period of death or breaking down. I am also reminded that the end result is beautifully sanctioned and ordained by my Creator and that each season has been set in place for a reason.
Farmers use a method similar to a death and growth cycle called “slash and burn” farming to create fields from forests or woodlands in order to harvest their crops. The “slash” is dried then burned at the beginning of the next season and the resulting ash then fertilizes the soil and is help the crops grow. By the breaking down or killing of the woodlands growth results in a new field and harvest. Looking at the beginning you would never think that with the tearing down and killing of the woodlands that growth and eventually a harvest would spring up from this time of brokenness and death. But how amazing is the Master’s plan in all of this and the beauty that comes from the ashes. My prayer is that during this burning/killing phase that a true harvest will spring up from the ashes and that the work He is doing in my life will be used for the harvest and bring others to Him.
The same cycle is true with our bodies; both physical and spiritual. Physically, when trying to build muscle and/or strengthen our bodies there must be a period of breaking down in order to build up and make stronger. When you work a muscle, the muscle fibers tear and are weakened (the breaking down phase) and as you rest and heal and then lift again you begin to build up the muscle and strengthen it (the growth/healing phase) . Each time you “work out” that muscle the break down/growth cycle takes place. Instant growth does not happen after one lift or one cardio session. It must be built upon day after day after day. Taking it a step further, when pursuing healthy bodies we are to have periods of growth and rest. You cannot continue to grow and strengthen if you do not have times to stop and quiet yourself and allow your body to heal. This is the groundwork set in motion at the beginning of time, a foundation to build upon. A firm foundation must be set to help reach the goals and strengthen the body. In order to become stronger and grow physically we must daily break down and build up.
As for our spiritual bodies, we go through life and are continually being sanctified through different seasons. There will be times when we are barely getting by and the only thing driving us forward is the grace of God and the faith that He will always keep his promises. There will also be seasons where we experience tremendous growth, healing, joy as well as rebirth. Most of the growing times stem from or follow the dry, desert seasons filled with breaking down, walking away, and regrouping. Look also at verse 11a where it says “He has made everything beautiful in its time”. What a wonderful promise and picture given to us right there. In all of the seasons, the growing, the breaking down, the sowing and reaping, the killing and the healing; it all comes together and is made beautiful in ITS time. Not in the time we think it should happen. Not in the time it happens for our friends, family or neighbors but in the time sanctioned by the Lord and for the Lord. Our growth is dependent upon our faith in the Lord and daily building on Him as a foundation as we walk through the seasons of breaking down and growth.
So no matter what season you find yourself in, know that a beautiful ending is in store. Both physically and spiritually in order to be strengthened and to grow there must be a breaking down in order to see true results and growth. Rejoice in the fact that there is a time for everything and that every season is ordained by the Lord in order to sanctify and grow us in his likeness and in Him.
About the Author: Lauren Barksdale is the founder of Soul Fitness. She has a BA and Masters in Kinesiology from Dallas Baptist University . She coached volleyball at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills for the last 5 years. In college she played volleyball for Baylor's club team and at Dallas Baptist University. She has been married to Ben Barksdale for 5 years and has two children; Evie Grace who is 3 and Hudson who is 10 months old. Lauren has a passion for health and fitness and incorporating that into everyday life as a Christ follower