In previous posts, we have looked at the concept of waiting and how it forms our lives. We have identified these seasons as “wilderness,” or seasons of waiting, marked by uncertainty, adversity, and personal growth opportunities. How we navigate these wilderness seasons will profoundly impact our lives. Failing to do so effectively can have many consequences that affect our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. In this final blog in the Meanwhile…series posts, we’ll explore what happens when we don’t navigate wilderness seasons well and discuss strategies for overcoming these challenges below.
- Stagnation and Frustration
We often find ourselves stuck and frustrated when we don’t navigate wilderness seasons well. The lack of progress and the inability to overcome obstacles can lead to a sense of hopelessness. This can impact our motivation and enthusiasm for life, making it difficult to move forward.
- Emotional Distress
Wilderness seasons are often accompanied by emotional turmoil. Failing to navigate them effectively can exacerbate these emotions, leading to anxiety, depression, or anger. Suppressing or mishandling these emotions can further compound the problem, affecting our mental health and overall well-being.
- Strained Relationships
Our struggles during wilderness seasons can spill over into our relationships. When we’re not navigating these periods well, we may become irritable, distant, or even push people away. This strain on our relationships can lead to isolation and loneliness, making it even more challenging to overcome the very issues that most likely led to our waiting season.
- Missed Opportunities for Growth
Despite their difficulty, wilderness seasons offer unique opportunities for personal growth and development. When we fail to embrace them, we miss out on possible chances for self-improvement. Over time, this can lead to regret and the feeling that we’ve wasted precious time.
- Physical Health Impact
The stress and emotional toll of poorly navigated wilderness seasons can also affect physical health. Chronic stress can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and weakened immune function. Neglecting self-care during these times can exacerbate these issues and prolong the journey in your wilderness.
- Repeating Patterns
Failing to navigate one wilderness season well can set the stage for repeating the same patterns in future challenges. If we don’t learn from our experiences and develop effective coping strategies, we may find ourselves stuck in a cycle of hardship and frustration.
Navigating Wilderness Seasons Effectively
While the consequences of “wasting” wilderness seasons can be daunting, it’s important to remember that we can change our approach and turn these challenges into opportunities for growth. Here are some strategies to navigate wilderness seasons effectively:
- Acceptance: Acknowledge that wilderness seasons are a natural part of life. Embrace them as opportunities for growth rather than trying to resist or avoid them.
- Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for emotional support. Sharing your struggles with others can help alleviate the burden and provide fresh perspectives.
- Self-Care: Prioritize self-care during challenging times. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation or mindfulness.
- Learn and Adapt: Reflect on your experiences and learn from them. Identify what worked and what didn’t in previous wilderness seasons, and use that knowledge to adapt and make better choices in the future.
- Set Goals: Establish clear goals for yourself during these seasons. Having a sense of purpose and direction can help you stay motivated and focused.
Here’s to recognizing, embracing, and navigating those Wilderness seasons of waiting. You’re not alone! You are either coming out of “wilderness” season or headed toward one. Take heart; this too shall pass, and you will be better on the other side of each one.
Dr. Christian Nichles, Pastor & Board Member, Pastor4Pastors Participant