the good way

Spiritual Seasons

Session 8 • Maturity • Teaching

In her book the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Adele Calhoun describes the spiritual journey as a marathon of seasons. She describes spiritual disciplines as ways that we intentionally keep moving through the seasons. Inevitably there will be seasons that feel abundant and others that feel desert-like. Sometimes prayer will feel easy, and at other times it will feel dry and lifeless. In some seasons we may find that the disciplines that were working for us before are no longer helping us to connect with God.

Like other living things, humans have seasons too - winter, summer, autumn and spring are part of our spiritual journey. We will find these seasons coming and going and coming again as we journey through life. Spiritual disciplines must be adapted to fit the reality of the life we are living.

In the descriptions below, Calhoun shares more about these seasons in the life of a believer. As you read through these descriptions, ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the season that you are currently in.


Spring is the season of new life, new beginnings, new growth. Enthusiasm for the things of God accompanies spiritual springtimes. Desire for more of God breaks forth in a beautiful way. Disciplines of worship and hearing God’s word seem to come naturally in this season of love for God. Often the desire to share our lives with others takes root in the spring.

Suggested disciplines: Confession, Bible study, conversational prayer, worship, spiritual friendship, discipling others, teachability


In summer seasons of abundance, the capacity and desire to give overflows. Serving others, working for justice, volunteering and engaging in outreach all brings us life. During this season, the fruit of the Spirit of God seems tangible to us. We sense God’s love, joy and peace in deeply satisfying ways. In the summer season disciplines that share our lives with others and incarnate God’s love keep us partnering with the Holy Spirit for transformation.

Suggested disciplines: Small Group, service, community, simplicity, truth telling, intercession, stewardship, justice and peace


Autumn is the season of transition standing between the bounty of summer and the barrenness of winter. This season is a mixed bag of harvest and loss. Sometimes even as we reap the fruit of sharing our lives with others, we sense a weariness of soul and a desire to hibernate for a time. Praying the authentic realities of our lives at this moment can be an important part of noticing God’s desire to move us more deeply into relationship with him. Seasons remind us that we are not always in summer. It is natural to move into times of transition. It is natural to wait and wonder what is next.

Suggested disciplines: The Prayer of Examen, mentoring, rule of life, rest, self care, walking prayer, hospitality, meditation, slowing


Winter is the season when the well runs dry and we feel we are running on empty. Psalm 42 and Psalm 63 express this season and its dark longing.

You, God, are my God

earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

my body longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

where there is no water. - Psalm 63:1

Winter seasons often call us to relinquish our agendas and open new spaces in our lives for God to show up. They give us ways to wait in hope when hope seems gone. Effort alone can never change our winter to spring. But winter is not the last word or only season of the spiritual journey. The presence of God within us is loaded with thawing power. We need to offer up the dark places of our soul to God. Dry times can orient our souls in the direction of God’s patience. Winter seasons can yield rich growth that flowers in other seasons.

Suggested disciplines: Journaling, devotional reading, solitude, fixed hour prayer, spiritual direction, healing prayer, unplugging, discernment

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