Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Season of Contentment

By Jebraun Clifford

Spring is a tricky, fickle season here in New Zealand, especially on the Central Plateau of the North Island. While the days may be getting longer, that doesn’t mean they’re consistently getting warmer. I keep glancing at my calendar and rooting for summer to make its grand entrance. However, the weather isn’t cooperating. Yesterday I couldn’t stop shivering despite layering on the clothing, and I’m just going to pretend I didn’t have to throw the wool blanket back on the bed a few nights ago because of a freakish cold front.

If I had my way, it would be summer year-round. You see, at my heart, I’m a California girl who craves the sunshine. I can’t get enough of summer. I love everything about it: dripping ice-cream cones and ripe stone-fruit, hours spent sweltering on the beach or by the lake, bare feet and floppy sun hats, loading up the car for a holiday road trip, and lying under the stars on a warm evening—not forgetting to apply plenty of bug spray!

But waiting for summer to actually get here can be problematic. I admire the swelling buds on my hydrangeas and all I can think about is how beautiful they’ll be when they’re finally in bloom with all their purple glory. I watch the rain shower down on my teensy, tiny tomato plants and imagine biting into a juicy beefsteak or popping a tiny heirloom cherry tomato into my mouth. I go to my closet and sorrowfully hold up t-shirts and shorts and pine for the day when I can wear them without also needing a puffer jacket and scarf. Spring to me is all about restless expectancy. I want summer, and I want it now.

This impatience trickles over in other areas of my life as well. As a pre-published writer (which sounds so much more optimistic than unpublished), I feel like I’m suspended indefinitely in the early stages of spring. I’m still tilling the ground, preparing the seed, getting ready to plant, when what I want is to have a hardback copy of my book in my hands. I don’t want to wait any longer.

I’m realizing what I need to have satisfaction with whatever season I’m in. Like Paul writes in the book of Philippians, I want to “…learn the secret of being content in any and every situation.” This isn’t a new lesson for me. I’ve had to put into practice this concept before.

When my children were little and I was still getting up with them several times during the night, I remember older and wiser mums telling me this season wasn’t going to last forever. That my babies were eventually going to grow up, sleep through the night, and I should enjoy the special cuddles while I could get them. Thankfully, I listened to these women and tried to cherish that early bonding time with each of my children.

When it comes to writing, I’ve had more than one conversation with authors who have encouraged me to have patience, enjoy learning more about the craft, relish the days of flipping open my laptop and simply telling a story without a deadline looming over me.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to find the joy in this season, trying not to only look ahead to what could be, but also focus on what is. Some days I have more success than others, but I’m hoping to look back one day and be thankful I was content with the time I was given.

I’d love to hear any strategies you might have for being content!

Be blessed, Jeb

About Jebraun Clifford

Growing up, Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it's no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in the centre of New Zealand where she and her preacher husband planted a church over a decade ago. She has three children, a crazy Jack Russell named Bree, and Gidget, a tortoiseshell kitten. She studied English Literature at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the Central Coast of California is still one of her favourite places ever.


  1. Hi Jebraun. Contentment is a challenge, but I'm learning to trust God's timing & His faithfulness. Different seasons exist for different reasons - pruning, growing, fruiting, they each have their purpose. Looking back over the past years (in my own pre-published state, before publication next year!) I can see how God has provided exactly what I needed when I needed it - but sometimes I didn't realise it at the time. Being thankful is a big key, as is taking a step back to see the big picture, as I realise God might be doing more in me in this season, so He can do more through me in the next :)

  2. Love this, Jebraun. I'm in the waiting room as I wait for news from my publisher Re:my MS. Will they or won't they take it? Hmmm …

    Every morning I open my email expectant of some news and hoping if it's there it'll be what I want to hear … Hmmm …

    But God.

    I've always regarded myself as a patient person but I'm prone to use this waiting as an excuse not to move onto something else. As so many stories in the Bible tell us, waiting isn't meant to be passive. We're meant to take a step forward as it's only when we do that the Lord steps with us.

    One step at a time … maybe not sure where to exactly but certain that we've got Jesus with us and that should be more than enough. Walking with Him is pretty cool.

    Bless, Jebraun …