When in a Seasonal Slump, Declare a Rallying Cry

October, November, and December were full months for me. Not so much because of the holidays, but for all the other things that were going on in my life. 

Here's what made up that season:

  • this website was launched (big learning curve)
  • preorders began for Unforced Rhythms
  • spoke at a women's retreat
  • podcast interviews (another big learning curve)
  • book released November 1
  • preorders shipped out, followed by more orders (and another big learning curve)
  • spoke at a conference
  • book signing at a local coffee shop
  • Nov trip to Egypt, Azerbaijan, and Hungary
  • celebrated a very important birthday
  • family Christmas (for kids/grands nearby) during 5-day turnaround
  • packages to CA kids/grands before we left on next trip
  • Dec trip to South Africa, Singapore, and New Zealand
  • NZ Christmas with more kids and grands
  • plus "just life" in between - the usual stuff like laundry, finances, household chores, and catching up with local kids/grands, and the not-so-usual stuff, like dealing with an insurance company for a totaled car (I was rear-ended in Oct and just now bringing closure to that)

I returned from NZ ready to go into hibernation, especially with the bitter-cold temperatures we were/are having in the mid-west. BUT, life doesn't allow for a dormant state. For one thing, I have a half-marathon to get ready for come May.

IMG_3654.JPG

 

 

 

Three years ago...

In May I'll be running with three out of four of my grown children. They're all hoping for a PR. I just told them to cheer me on as I cross the finish line. 

Let's do this!!

After a highly productive season, a seasonal slump can often follow. So, I'm declaring a rallying cry for February, March, and April, to change things up, to motivate. 

A rallying cry is just the sort of thing seasonal/yearly people would love. It has a start and a finish. I always think of the phrase "rally the troops" when it comes to a rallying cry, but instead of rounding up troops or forces to fight a battle, it's about focusing on a theme that inspires, revives, and motivates one to action. It could be a house project you've been wanting to get to, or a personal goal towards better health, or a focused study. 

If you've read Patrick Lencioni's book, The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, you'll know what I mean by a rallying cry. I posted about this book back in 2009 on a blog I had at the time. Lencioni suggests a 2–6 month rallying cry. I usually make mine three or four.  You'll find posts on each of the three big questions here, here, and here. Dennis and I are empty-nesters, so I can't say we have a frantic family, but we do manage a considerable amount of travel. That calls for a way of life that is made up of packing, unpacking, time differences, weather differences, night flights, crowded jets, long flights, lots of people connections, jet lag, regrouping once home, catching up on life, and recovering from the toll of travel. 

So, today I joined the YMCA. I needed motivation, plus the cold temps and snow make running hazardous. My theme is staying healthy, which means only rewarding myself once a week with a pastry (maybe twice), and cross-training for the half. This all begins in February, so still enjoying a more than once-a-week apple fritter or sticky bun or persian pecan from a local bakery. I know, it's my downfall! I can walk through a candy store, no problem, but a donut shop. . . 

This morning it felt so good to put on my running clothes. I ran consistently in 2017, but took a 3-month break because of the above list (and my seasonal mode). I went as my daughter's guest (who joined the Y two days ago), but left as a member. I can't tell you how good it felt to run on the indoor track. And then, the weight machines to work on my upper body strength. The Y was just the motivation I needed.

My cheering team 

My cheering team 

I'm also planning a 5-day getaway where the sun always shines for writing inspiration and spiritual renewal. A long retreat of sorts that will energize and refresh this seasonal person. 

It will be a different season than the past three months, but that's the way us seasonal people roll. We need to change things up to keep motivated and inspired. Forget a new year's resolution. Here's to a new season!

If you're rhythm is seasonal/yearly, what's your current season look like? 

The Seasonal/Yearly Person

It was a liberating day when I discovered that I lived life to a seasonal/yearly rhythm.

For so long I had struggled to live within the confines (for me, anyway) of a daily box. The spiritual angst I felt from the guilt and defeat of trying to be daily wore me down spiritually. Wouldn't it be like the enemy of our souls to discourage and torment in something considered a spiritual discipline–daily devotions? 

I felt guilty when I missed daily devotions, yet deeply desired an authentic and meaningful relationship with Christ. What a relief when the concept of Life Rhythms shed light on the tension I felt.

Once I realized repetition and routine bog a non-daily person down, it all made sense. The defeat I felt wasn't because I didn't love God or desire to know his Word. It wasn't because I didn't want to spend time in prayer. It was simply because I wasn't daily.

No more condemnation. No more guilt. No more accusation. I am free to connect with God out of my seasonal/yearly rhythm and in this, I find great joy. 

We like a start and finish to things. Making an indefinite commitment to a service, activity, or responsibility saps the the energy out of a seasonal/yearly person. They need to know that things are going to change up after so long. No wonder the consistency of daily devotions rob the seasonal/yearly person of their joy. 

Creativity stirs the soul of a seasonal/yearly person. Music, art, writing, and other creative outlets can motivate and draw the seasonal/yearly person closer to God. Times with God will flow in and out of each season, setting the tone for life. Engaging in spiritual practices with flexibility, variety and change will give a seasonal/yearly person a fresh perspective to one’s spiritual walk.

Seasonal people anchor themselves in processing life in blocks of time. This could align with the seasonal changes of the calendar year or in just what's happening in life during a certain timeframe. Unlike the daily rhythm with to-do lists, or the weekly/monthly rhythm with calendars and priorities, the seasonal/yearly rhythm lives in the ebb and flow of life. Where's God moving in this season of life? Processing life in order to determine a theme enables them to focus on what matters most in a particular season or year.