It is funny how harvest seasons in your life can work. One day, you look out and it seems there's nothing on the vine. The next day, you look out of the window and the landscape that was once barren, yields all of this amazing fruit. Were you ready for it?
I'll be honest, this past year of my life, I have aptly entitled "The Press". I've been knocked down on several occasions and I've gotten up every time. I've walked when I was tired of running, and crawled when I got tired of walking. Regardless of the mode of transportation, I have pressed! I've pressed in prayer, perseverance, forgiveness, love, effort, and simply in pushing forward when it felt I had nothing else to give. And now, it's harvest time!
So much manifested goodness has come upon me within the past month that I really can't tell it all! To be real, it almost feels weird. It feels weird to hear "yes"; to have people reaching out to you for your gifts, to have the opportunities and dreams of your heart begin to open up to you. I've gotten so accustomed to keeping my head down and just pressing through, that I didn't realize when I had made it out of the storm. Yes, harvest time is beautiful, yet I feel it can be very misconstrued. Let me explain:
This is the first part of the process. If you don't plant any seeds, then you can't expect any harvest. This is true in not only the natural sense (of gardening or farming), but it's also true in the spiritual sense. The "seeds" that you plant are your words and actions. It's important that you see ALL of your words and actions as seeds, not just the ones that you deem to be good. If you are hoping to reap a harvest of a great relationship with a friend, so you plant the seeds of supportive words, yet you're simultaneously planting the seeds of inaction when it comes to actually showing up when it counts, then your harvest will be canceled out. The seeds that are used will differ based on the exact harvest that you are looking to get. For me, I wanted a harvest in the area of seeing my growth within the arts. Here are some of the seeds I planted within the past year:
I stayed in a place of consistently honing my craft through learning! The "Training" section of my resumé has grown more in the last year than it ever has in the past. Acting and writing classes galore!
Going on multiple auditions.
Building my network by connecting with others who have been where I want to go.
Making this website.
This is arguably the hardest part of the "Seed - Time - Harvest" sequence, and yet, it is the part where the least amount of work is done. This is the step where you WAIT! In the physical realm, it takes time for the rains to come and for the sun to shine. It is the same in your life. You NEED those rainy days in your life - the unexpected life twists that rock you to your core, exposing your weaknesses and unleashing your untapped strength. You also NEED those sunny days - the beautiful days where nothing seems to be going wrong and it's easy to find a reason to smile. I'll admit though, as I'm reaching the end of my "Time" season and approaching my Harvest, God is revealing to me ways in which I could have better invested during this past season. Here are a few tips:
"Time" is a great season for REST! Once again, it is arguably the season where the least amount of work needs to be done. Yet, (speaking for myself) half of this season was spent doing a lot of "work" mentally and emotionally as I would toss and turn in my mind the questions and wonderings of "when will it happen?" "how will it happen?" "will it happen at all?" Whatever your it is, you'll lose a lot of sleep and a lot of mental/emotional rest wrestling with these anxieties. "Time" is NOT the time to fear. It is the time to stand strong in the Truth of who God is, who you are, and be confident that the seeds you've planted WILL produce their rightful harvest.
See "Time" as a beautiful gift. This is the moment to rest up before the rush of Harvest time. This is also when you want to prepare for your crop. Walk in the authority of what you are expecting, even before you see it. Don't wait to proclaim yourself as a writer until your published book comes out. Speak it out now. Continue to hone your craft and your gifts. Be prepared at all times.
Funnily enough, as you are waiting for the harvest of opportunities in your life to sprout, a greater harvest is taking place: the harvest of the fruit of the Spirit. A lot is revealed during the waiting period. How patient are you, really? Will you be self-disciplined enough to choose peace when the storms of life are raging around you? Will you still love your friend and be joyful for them even when it seems they are harvesting the same fruit you're still waiting to see grow? Don't neglect to seek God during the waiting period. Stay connected and watch the greater fruit grow.
Many people see Harvest season as the time to kick back, relax and enjoy the fruit of their labor. There is some credence to this, but in more ways than one, this couldn't be further from the truth. Any real farmer knows that Harvest time is the busiest time of all, even more work than planting the seeds. Harvest season is time sensitive: you need to pick the fruit before it spoils rotten on the vine or before other insects and animals get to it. In essence, Harvest time is still work, but it's a beautiful work - indeed, it is the work that you worked so hard to get to. Here are some of my real life examples:
As a result of planting the seeds of honing my craft with writing classes, I've expounded on an idea I've had for a web series and have been connected with a person who has the resources to bring my writing to life!
From the seeds of going on multiple auditions, I've reaped the Harvest of debuting on the Fisher Theatre stage in April, and am looking forward to my new bookings for a student short film taping in August, and another theatrical performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts set for September, in connection with a renown NYC artist.
Through building my network, I have literally just (within the last hour) been offered the position to be University of Michigan's Admissions Recruiter!
By making this website, I've taken myself more seriously as a professional speaker, so others have too. I am proud to announce that this time next month, I will be working with Breaking Walls, an international program that will be held in Warsaw, Poland this year. Through the speaking opportunity I have with Breaking Walls, I'll be able to positively influence teenagers from around the globe as we use the arts as a tool to discuss such societal ills like drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, depression, and suicide.
This list is just a portion of the wonderful harvest that I see God bringing in. It's exciting! It's sobering. With the Harvest of doors opening for new bookings in theatre and film, I have to dedicate more time to studying scripts and creating characters. With a new full-time job comes the necessary discipline to manage my time well. With more speaking engagements coming my way, I'll also need to write like I never have before, keeping my poetry and speaking topics fresh.
To think that in a month, I will officially be able to truthfully say that I am an international speaker, is so beyond me! I am grateful and humbled. As the work load increases, my need for God's grace, strength, wisdom and direction increases as well. I have the keen awareness that the higher I go - in my achievements, goals, dreams, influence, etc - the lower I must go too - being more servant minded, living a life of humility, making the secret place of God's presence my favorite place, etc.
The wait felt long to see some of the signs of harvest, yet now that it's here, it doesn't feel as if it was that long at all. Part of me felt like it all came out of nowhere, but that's when God reminded me of the "Seed" and the "Time". They matter more than the Harvest itself. None of my time was wasted. The long days and the longer nights all were working out for these moments of beauty, these emails with good news, these phone calls with amazing surprises.
My Harvest didn't just turn up, and your's won't either. What season are you in? If you're planting seeds, be single minded so as not to pull up the seeds that you just planted with words and actions of doubt and fear. If you're in the waiting period, trust God and speak peace to your emotions. REST! Your harvest is coming, and when it does, you don't need to show up to it already exhausted. I wonder how many of you are in your Harvest time, but you don't see it because you thought Harvest meant the fruit would automatically pop up on your table, when it really means it's time to pluck it off the vine. I wonder if you're anxious for no reason, feeling like Harvest looks like you getting a random call for promotion, when really it looks like that witty idea God has given you, and if you put it to work, you'll be promoted beyond your wildest dreams. If you're in your Harvest time, pick that fruit to the glory of God and rejoice in the bounty of what He's allowed your eyes to behold.