Joyce Meyer - The Changing Seasons of Our Life - Part 1
I want to talk to you this afternoon about the different seasons in our lives and how to discern when a season in your life is changing. You know, there's nothing worse than hanging on to something that God's done with. Amen? And you know, just because you've done something for 10 years or 20 years and it's been God the whole time that doesn't mean that God can't suddenly get done with it and want you to go in a different direction. And so, I'm just gonna tell you a story maybe, to help you understand a little bit about what you can watch for when it's time for a change in your life. First of all, let me say, when something is changing in your life, when it's obvious that there's a change, maybe there's a change at your workplace and there's nothing you can do about it. You don't like it, but they're changing something and it's gonna affect you, and you can either sit there and be unhappy or you can go along with the change.
Well, I heard this one time, and I think it's very good. When something is changing the first thing you need to do is change your mind about the change. See, because if you're like, "Well, I don't like this... And I'm not gonna be happy with this..." if it's gonna change anyway, then you might as well change your mind and say, "I can get used to this. It's gonna be okay". You know, things are changing in our lives all the time. I mean, there's, how many of you have had really good relationships at some point, had a friend that you saw a lot for maybe 10, 15, 20 years and now you don't ever see 'em? And see? Even people, there's certain people that are right for our lives in certain seasons, and it doesn't mean it's bad when they're no longer in your life, it's just time for a new season.
You know, maybe sometimes, you've been helping somebody for a long, long time and that's over. God doesn't want you helping them anymore. He wants 'em to stand on their own two feet. We had that situation with my brother. He lived with us for about four years, and we got him all nice and healthy, and he got off of drugs he was addicted to, and got his life straightened out, and was working for the ministry. My brother was the kind of guy that he did everything, he did okay, as long as somebody was kind of making him do what was right, watching over him, but he didn't do too good when he was on his own. Well, he was a grown man. And to be honest, I didn't wanna take care of him the rest of my life. I didn't think that would even be good for him. And so, the time came when it was time to stop helping him. And that's hard to do sometimes.
And to be honest, he didn't do very well when we stopped helping him. But I couldn't just keep taking care of him his whole life just so, you know, you can't give your whole life up to help somebody else stand on their two feet, who won't do their part. God wants us to help people, but he never wants us to do so much for somebody else that they never end up having to do anything for themselves. Amen? There's a lot that I can say about seasons, but I'm trusting God to pick out some bullet point things that maybe, some people here really, really need today. Even your own kids, you know, things have to change with your children. You go through a period of time where you're telling them everything, and then you go for a period of time where they don't want you telling 'em anything. And the time will come when you will have to disengage from trying to tell your kids what to do all the time, and don't give them advice unless they ask you for it because they don't want it if they don't ask for it.
And so, you have one type of relationship with your kids when they're little and at home, a different type when they become teenagers. You have to gradually, turn decision-making power over to them in their own lives, and you let it go a little bit at time, a little bit at a time. I want to encourage you today, and this may sound odd at first, but don't be the kind of parent that your children are your whole life. You know why? Because someday they're gonna leave and go about having their own life. And if you have put everything into them, nothing into your marriage, nothing into developing any other kind of relationships, or interests, or hobbies you are gonna be very sad and may even, get mad at them for, "Leaving me," when it's a natural thing. "You'll leave your father and mother and cleave unto your wife".
Now, we have very good relationships with our four children and I'm particularly, really close to them and I either see or talk to every one of them, almost every day. I feel like mine never left home. But they, two of 'em live within, well, one of 'em lives within one minute of me and another one lives within three minutes of me, and the other two are about 15-20 minutes away. Our sons work for us. And so, we came out of it good. But you know, I had to make some changes and I had to make some adjustments as far as letting my kids live their own lives and not trying to tell them what to do all the time. And if you have multiple children, you will even have different relationships with each one of them, come on. And you have to let each one of them be who they are, and you have to meet them where they're at, and not expect every one of them to be like you are. "Ohh..." you know, Paul said, I love this that the apostle Paul said. He said, "I've learned to be all things to all people, whatever it takes to win them".
So, Paul had the ability to kinda quickly locate what a person needed or kinda where they were coming from in life. And instead of expecting them to adapt to him all the time, he was spiritually mature enough to be the one who adapted and tried to meet them where they were at. Like, one of my children might want my advice on everything and then, another one might not want my advice on anything. So, I've learned to not bother trying to give my advice to the one that's gonna be offended by it. And one, I can say anything and they'll say, "Nah, I don't wanna do that," or, "Yeah, I think that's good," and that's fine. We don't have any problems.
And so, just make sure you realize that whatever kind of relationship you have with your children now, it's gonna change as time goes by, and you gotta have something in your life besides just your kids. Don't be one of those people that mourn for five years with the empty nest syndrome. You know? Be at a point where, when it's time for your kids to go, you're glad. It's like "Go. Come see me. Bring the grand-babies, but don't stay long". You know what I mean. I'm just having fun with you. How many of you agree with that? It's not wise to just put everything into one thing. And I think, even in a marriage, I think, of course, different people are different. There are some people that can do every single thing together every day of their life. I need a little space and Dave needs a little space.
So, after 52 years you get things worked out really good. It's just like, I mean, I used to get so mad when he'd go out and play golf and now, I'm like, "Don't you wanna go play golf"? In other words, if you wanna have good relationships with people, stop trying to make them be what you want them to be, and learn to love who they are. Amen? So, we had a couple that lived with us for 18 years. It was when the ministry was first starting and we didn't have any money to hire any kinda help, and the ministry was still in the basement of our home then. And this couple, God put it on their heart and he put it on our heart to ask them to come and work with us, and help us, and it would have been a volunteer position at first. And so, we asked them to meet us for dinner. And when we asked them how'd they feel about getting involved in helping us, they said, "God already put it on our heart. We're ready".
And so, you see, when something is right, you don't have to try to make somebody do something. God will prepare everybody's heart and it will be an easy, smooth transition. Well, they started by just coming out to our house almost every night, and they'd do laundry, or this, or that, or whatever needed to be done, which left me free to study. And you know, I mean, I teach a lot now, but I mean, I used to be like, almost like, a crazy person. I mean, I would teach 20, 25 times a month, and every message was different. And if I wasn't preaching, I was studying to preach, or putting together messages, or writing a book, and so, I didn't have time to do much else. And so, as the ministry grew, they spent more and more time with us. And then, as we started to travel, they stayed with our kids sometimes when we'd be gone overnight or on the weekend.
And so, 18 years they lived with us, and they did everything with us. They went out to eat with us, everything, and it was just wonderful. We never had a problem. Never had arguments. Never had any issues between us. We just loved them. They loved us. And it was perfect situation. And then the season was up. And it was the hardest thing because all of a sudden, just them being there annoyed me. And then, I would get mad at myself because I felt that way because I didn't understand why I felt that way. How many of you know, sometimes things are changing, and your feelings change and you just don't understand why you feel that way? And you even think, "Well, it's me. Something's wrong with me". And I mean, I went through everything from thinking I wasn't a loving person to I wasn't appreciative, and all these different things.
Well, it took a lot longer than it should have for us to make the change, but two years and finally, all four of us got it. It was time for a change. And we're still friends today. We love them. They love us. But we used to see them every day of our life, for 18 years. And now, we see them maybe, five times a year, something like that. But you know, we've got a relationship with deep roots. We would do anything for them, if they ever needed help. They would do anything for us. But you have to be willing to let things change. Now, I'm gonna make a statement that has really impacted my life in the last couple of years, and I hope that it will mean something to you. Only a fool thinks he can always do what he's always done. Only a fool thinks he can always do what he's always done. Let me tell you something. You're aging. From the moment you're born you're aging.
Now, I asked my trainer... I have a trainer that works with me three days a week with weights and I asked him, I'm 76 now, I said, "Okay, if I keep this up", three days a week, I've been working out like that like, 13 years. I said, "If I keep this up, when I'm ninety will I still be able to do exactly what I'm doing right now". And he said, "No". And, I'm kinda like, "Well, how do you know"? You know? And he said no simply because, he said, "You'll still be able to work out". But he said, "You won't be lifting as heavy of weights as you do now. You might not do quite as many reps". He said, "Because you're aging, and by the time you're 90, no matter how good a care you take of yourself, you're not gonna be as strong as you are, right now".
So, I asked him the other day, I said, "How about 80? Can I still", you know? And he said, "Yeah, four years from now, you'll probably still be able to do pretty much, you know, what you're doing now". And part of the reason why I'm doing these physical things is to keep myself in shape. If you wanna keep moving then you gotta keep moving. You know, you can't just go sit down somewhere and expect to feel like doing things five or ten years from now. Be as active as you can, as long as you can without hurting yourself, and you can be around for a long time doing lots of things. Old is a mindset. Aging is a fact of life. We're all getting older all the time. And you will get to the point where there's some things that doesn't interest you anymore, or some things you used to really love to do, now you don't wanna do.
And we have to not be afraid to let things change in our life because that is actually the natural cycle of life. Change is natural. It's normal. And if you are resistant to change... how many of you don't like change? Well, too bad. Because it's going to happen. And to be honest, I mean, some changes I don't like, but I don't mind change because I think it's what keeps life interesting. You know, if everything is the same, same, same ol', same ol', same ol' forever and ever it gets kinda tiresome. And so, one of the ways you can tell when God is wanting to change something is you just won't like it anymore. It's just like, it doesn't fit anymore. It's just not right. And I don't suggest that every time you don't like something that you think you need to go do something totally different. You might not like your job one day. That doesn't mean you need to quit and go get another job. But if it persists over a period of time then you need to start asking yourself, "Is it time for a change"?
And sometimes, you don't even have to have a reason for why it should change. Sometimes, we just need a change. Sometimes, we just need to do something different. Or sometimes, we don't have any idea why God wants us to leave one place and go to another place. But maybe, you know, maybe you're in a church you been in for x number of years of your life and, you know too much to stay in that same place anymore. Maybe, you need to go somewhere where people don't know as much as you know, and God might want to be able to use you there, where, where you're at right now, he doesn't need you. Hello? I worked at a church for five years and God started dealing with me that it was time to leave, only I didn't know that was what he was up to, and I just started getting unhappy. I just didn't like it anymore. I just didn't wanna go. I dreaded going. And I worked there, and things that I used to love like staff meetings and things like that, I dreaded 'em, couldn't wait for 'em to get over with. Didn't realize what God was up to.
You know, you always start by thinking, "Something must be wrong with me. What's wrong with me"? And one Tuesday night, I went to church because we had church on Tuesday night, and I was sitting in my seat in the front row, and I heard God say just as plainly, "What are you doing here"? And I thought, "Well, I'm in church. It's Tuesday night". And you know the next thing I heard? "I don't need you here anymore". He needed me somewhere else. And see, we need to be, now, listen to what I'm gonna say, we need to be where God needs us, not where we wanna be. Are you there? We need to be where God needs us, not where we want to be. Maybe, you're at a job and you're the only believer there. And you don't necessarily, wanna be there but God needs you there. Have you asked God to use you? Uh-huh, well? What if he's trying to but you don't particularly, like the place he's decided to use you? You know, if you're the only Christian in a place you shouldn't grumble about that. You might be their only hope of ever seeing Jesus. Amen?
And I don't, you know, you can be somewhere that is not particularly, thrilling to you and still have a peace about being there and know it's the place that you're supposed to be. You might be in a difficult marriage and still know that it's where you're supposed to be. And I believe, if you're where you're supposed to be, that God can give you the ability to enjoy your life right in the middle of something that would drive most people crazy. Hello? Come on, this is good. So, the Bible pretty much says there's a season for everything. And so, I'm gonna read, very quickly, some stuff in Ecclesiastes that we're all, you know, pretty used to. But Ecclesiastes 3, beginning in verse 1. And I'm not gonna read every word of this, I'm gonna skip through it pretty quick. "There's a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance, a time to scatter stones, a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up".
I thought that was an interesting one. "A time to keep and a time to throw away". Hmm... We gotta stop there for a minute. "A time to keep and a time to throw away". This is a word in due season. Somebody needs to go home and have a throwing away party. Come on, how many of you are junk collectors, you just keep everything you can get your hands on? Well, I'll throw away anything I can get my, I don't throw it away. I give it to somebody. Send it to some needy place. My husband, on the other hand, he likes to collect stuff. Everything is beautiful in its time. But out of season, it can just be an absolute mess. There's a right time and a wrong time for every matter under the sun. And when we mature enough to be able to discern the seasons, it's a very good thing in our life. How many of you have a difficult time letting go of things?
See, I feel for you. I'm not, well, some things I'm worse at than others, you know. Now, that I've aged a little, I haven't gotten older. But now that I've aged a little, I've had to let go of some things at the office things that, you know, to be honest, technology is so far ahead of me now, that I'd be dumb, not to let some of the younger people handle it because I don't understand it. Don't wanna understand it. Don't have any interest in learning it. It's just, I'd much rather pay somebody to do it for me. "Here, my phone's not working". "Thank you". "My computer don't work". "Thank you". "Can you just come over and do that for me"? "Thank you". But I've had to, even in the last couple of years, make some big changes. Like, you may notice that I have somebody helping me a little bit here, now.
Pastor Mike, sometimes, Ginger does it. And you know it was just time for me to stop doing everything. Sometimes, you just can't do everything, or you get to the point where you can't do any of it well. And I was just tired. And I have a right to be tired because I've been doing this for a long, long, long, long time. And I kept it up so long trying to keep doing everything, you know, 'cuz everybody, "Well, you know, it's better if you do it," you know. So, I kept trying to do it and I finally made myself sick, and I didn't have any choice. Sometimes, you won't change unless you come to a crisis point in your life and that crisis forces you to change. But hopefully, we'll get smart enough to recognize the signs and make the changes while we can still make them because we choose to, and not make them because we're forced to, and have no choice.