Friday, August 13, 2010
When Fall Comes Early
Fall is my favorite season of the year. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind, the smells of pumpkin pie and warm candles, the decorations, the events....everything. With the Fall comes amazing beauty - vibrant colors of orange, red and yellows that dot the trees. Yet towards the end of Fall, the leaves die and fall off the trees, leaving them bare and naked. We rake up the leaves and throw them away, and await the new buds that will spring on the branches.
Fall is not upon us yet, but I have been attending a Bible study written by my good friend Laura called "Seasoned With Grace." Through the study, we are delving into the different spiritual seasons we go through in life, which have many similarities to the seasons of nature. So far we have studied Winter, Spring and Fall. When she asked me last week, "Is there a season you currently find yourself in?" The answer to me was clear: I am in Fall.
Fall is characterized by uncertainty, disappointment, dryness, a feeling of uselessness, and sometimes loneliness.
God uses this season in our lives to purify us and get rid of the dead and useless stuff in us: sin, bad attitudes, bad habits, etc. He uses this season to prune us, so that we may then grow even more and be more effective for him. He refines us, chipping away at those areas of ungodliness and bad thoughts and attitudes. It hurts sometimes, but it is good.
A few months ago I had my Fall months all planned out - our schedule, the ministries I was going to be involved in, extra-curricular activities, and more. Yet one by one every.single.door.closed. I was left wondering "why?" and "did I do something wrong?" Yet God kept whispering to my heart that He wanted me all to Himself for awhile. There was some work He needed to do on me. Bad habits he wanted to get rid of. My bad habits have included: not taking care of myself, not being disciplined in my time with God, having a bad attitude, etc. (I won't go on and on here) ;)
The funny thing was, the more I talked to my friends about my life and their lives, we realized that many of us are in the same season right now. I have 4 very good friends who feel like life suddenly stopped - what they were doing ended, and they are left wondering why, and wonder what God may have in store. But maybe what God has in store for us this season isn't outward activity. It is inward activity. Kindof like Fall, don't you think?
Laura writes in her curriculum, "Maintaining our focus on God during this season is imperative - it is easy to get discouraged and resist the work he is doing in our hearts if we don't." (i.e. fill our time up with "stuff" because just sitting and being still before God is too hard).
I have made it my personal goal that during this Fall season of life, at least for 1 month, I will get up an hour earlier every morning. I will use that time wisely to spend with God - maybe not for the entire hour, but I will be open to how He speaks to me. I will also go to bed earlier (part of dealing with one of my "bad habits"). I am trying to take better care of my body, and exercise. So far it's working, because I have lost almost 5 pounds and feel completely different. But that's not the point. The point is, God is doing an internal work, and it is our job to be responsive to it.
If you need encouragement in this area, I encourage you to go over and read John 15.
-It is just a season
-God is doing a deeper work
-He is still with you.
(If you'd like to read more on this topic, you can see another post here.)