“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Ecclesiastes 3 shows us two important principles about purpose: There is a time for every purpose and every purpose has a season. Meaning, there is more than one purpose and it depends on the season of our life. This requires paying attention so you recognize when it’s time for a new season to emerge.
Mindfulness is a psychological concept which means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It is the trait of paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment; and there are a number of therapeutic applications. Research posits that mindfulness practices are useful in the treatment of pain, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addiction.
Mindfulness poses the question: Are you paying attention to what you are paying attention to?
The part of the brain that correlates with the activation of attention is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a part of the frontal lobe that is considered to be the location of neurons responsible for acting like a spotlight to target what you are concentrating on.
Every purpose has a sound. You have to listen to your heart and pay attention.
Chapter 3 in Ecclesiastes lists out the different times for each purpose and if you are not familiar with these verses, you might remember the song “Turn Turn Turn” by the Byrds. The lyrics were adapted almost entirely from verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKP4cfU28vM)
Based on my clinical experience, I have come up with some modern day examples:
- A time to take shelter from the storm and a time to dance in the rain
- A time to read your Bible and a time to talk to Jesus instead
- A time to say I love you and a time to show it
- A time to consider and a time to conquer
- A time to pick up the phone and a time to hang up
- A time to apply for a new job and a time to start your career
- A time of victory and a time of sacrifice
- A time for patience and a time for NOW
- A time for Facebook and a time for face-to-face
- A time for your dream to manifest and a time to enjoy the process
- A time to be surrounded by the companionship of others and a time for solitude
- A time to turn the knob and a time to bust down the door
- A time to surf the web and a time to start your own website
- A time to do and a time to be
- A time to speak the truth in love and a time to listen
- A time to look at old pictures and enjoy the memories and a time to pick up a camera and make new ones
- A time to splurge and treat yourself and a time to be frugal
- A time to feel the pain and a time to heal
- A time to guard your heart and a time to be vulnerable
- A time to take a step of faith and a time to take a leap
- A time to remember and a time to forget
- A time to see your beauty and a time to see it in others
- A time to move and a time to stay put
- A time to wait and put your hope in someone and a time to let them go
- A time to teach and a time to be taught
- A time to keep it to yourself and a time to share it with an audience
- A time to rest and a time to be aggressive
- A time to say goodbye and a time to commit for a lifetime
- A time to read a book and a time to write your own
- A time to be polite and a time to say what you really think
- A time to fight for what you want and a time to let God fight for you
- A time to walk away and a time to pursue
- A time for a firm grip and a time to loosen the reins
- A time to be grateful and a time to be honest with what you really want
- A time to fall to your knees and a time to STAND
- A time for a broken heart and a time to meet the one you’ve been waiting for
- A time to pursue your dream and a time to let your dream pursue you
Notice how the seasons come in small moments that we often ignore, dismiss, minimize or even spiritualize. Rather, we must take the time to listen to our heart, body, thoughts, and emotions because they are real, powerful, and necessary to fulfilling our heart’s desires and moving us into the next season of our purpose.