Finding God in the Fall – Part Two: Rest and Rhythm

Rhythm is such an important part of our lives.  Almost everyone’s lives eventually fall into some kind of rhythm.  We generally wake up at a certain time, eat lunch and dinner at a certain time, and have some sort of routine we do before bed.  Even week to week our lives generally have rhythm.  We work five days (most of us) and then have Saturday and Sunday off and back to work Monday.  For children, this is even more ingrained with their daily school schedules.

On the outside, this constant predictable rhythm can seem mundane and banal.   However, I believe that it is also comforting and reassuring to have that rhythm.  I think that living our lives in a rhythm is very important.  It’s one of the reasons that working night shift or working a changing work schedule is so difficult.  Our minds and bodies never get set into the kind of relaxing rhythm we need.

That’s kind of the problem with summer.  Don’t get me wrong.  Summer is my favorite time of year.  I love the heat, the sunshine, the long days, everything.  However, summer also has a way of throwing us off our rhythm. For many people, summer is a time of constant movement.

Life picks up speed in the summer and the rhythm of life that we found over the last 8 months is completely thrown off.  There are always things to do and places to go. There are family reunions, weddings, vacations (that always seem to be more tiring that relaxing), and graduation parties. There is grass to mow, hedges to trim, and flowerbeds to keep.  The kids are playing three sports at the same time while also doing the summer reading program at the library and taking swim lessons.  Friends come to visit.  We stay up late for fireworks.  Our rhythm is completely thrown off in the constant busyness.

Fall is a time to slow down.  The work and busyness of summer is over.  Life goes back to a steady rhythm. Although this can seem monotonous, it can also be peaceful.  Our lives need rhythm and consistency.  Within that rhythm and consistency, we can plan for more meaningful time spent with God.   We know exactly when we need to wake up and can plan on doing that a little bit earlier to center our day on God before we start.  We know when we need to go to sleep so we can pause to reflect on the day a little bit before that and refocus on God.  This rhythm, rest, and consistency enables us to better center our lives and perspective on our relationship with our God.  Connection with God in the fall continues with focusing on rhythm and rest.

With that refocus on God, I find that a lot of the depression, anxiety, and all around malaise of life kind of disappears.  Refocusing on something and someone bigger than myself reminds me that my problems are not as big as they seem and that there is always someone caring about me.  I can find this through finding God in the fall.

 

This is part two of a three part series.  If you would like to get an email letting you know when I post the third part and new series, just click on the link in the lower right corner of your screen to subscribe.  Thanks for reading.

Finding God in the Fall – Part One

If I’m being completely open and honest, I’ve always struggled in the fall.  Depression hits pretty hard for me starting about middle of October and then comes and goes until April-ish.  It’s a tricky thing for me.  For those of you who know me, I’m a person of faith.  I rely pretty heavily on my relationship with God to get me through difficult times.  However, the funny thing is that as my depression gets bigger and closer, God seems to get smaller and farther away.  So it’s a downward spiral generally.  The weather turns, I get depressed, then I lose my connection with God, and it makes me more depressed.

So, this year, I decided to try to shift my perspective on the fall.  Usually, I see fall as a time of death and decay as plants are going dormant for winter.  I see fall as a time when the vivid colors of spring and summer morph and fade into dull browns and grays.  The fun filled activities of summer lull into a slow drawn-out trudging monotony.  However, over the next three posts, I’m going to show how to shift perspective to redeem all these things and to use them to keep my connection with God.

Let’s start with the first, death and decay.  It’s true.  During the fall, many plants die.  The beautiful flowers that are planted in the spring whither and die, the vibrant green grass goes dormant into a grayish brown, and the trees stand lifelessly still.

However, I think the way to change perspective on this issue is to look at fall not as a season of death and decay, but also as a season of harvest.  Yes it is true that plants are dying, but that death is part of the harvest.  It is the completion of what was begun in the spring with the planting.

We can connect with God through this by remembering that He is a god of completion.  God finishes what He starts. This is true in plants but it is also true in us.  Every one of us was put on Earth for a reason.  We are not accidents.  We have purpose for being here and God will bring about that purpose in our lives.  He is going to finish what He started in our lives.  Focusing on that and dwelling on the harvest is the first way that I am shifting my perspective this year.  God is not a god of death and decay.  He is a god of harvest and completion.  I choose to trust in that.

As always, thank you for reading.  If you want to receive and email notification whenever I post something new, click on the “follow” tab in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Tune in next week for the continuation of how to shift focus in the fall.

 

(This is an abridged version of a piece that I wrote for my church, Northside Christian Church’s, website.  If you want to read the original piece, head to www.northsideweb.org/blog)

 

Raindrops and Ripples

There’s a website for poets called The Prose.  Poets/Authors create challenges on there to spur on creative thinking and writing for other poets.  I know it sounds super cheesy and all but I really enjoy it.  I don’t create a lot on there.  I just browse the challenges to see if there is anything that piques my interest.  About two months ago, there was a challenge called “Micropoetry.” It was a challenge to write a poem in 32 words or less. I wrote this one called “Raindrops and Ripples.”  It didn’t win, but I figured I could share it here.  Enjoy.

One drop of rain

Can start a chain

Of ripples felt a mile away.

And one good deed

Can plant a seed

That grows to save a world in need.

 

The poem is pretty straightforward and simple.  The message is that nothing you do, no matter how seemingly small, is insignificant.  Any good deed that you do will impact the world around in a positive way somehow.

Thanks for reading.  As always, I would be honored if you clicked on the link in the lower right hand corner of the screen and followed the blog.  Happy Friday Everyone!

Lonely Lives the Spider

The other morning was foggy and misty all around.  As I got out to mow one of the parks at work, I looked over the field next to the park and saw about a thousand spider webs still covered in the morning dew.  It was really an incredible sight.  As I got closer, I saw that each spider web actually had a spider sitting in the middle of it. All alone.

When you really look at spiders, many of them truly are beautiful.  They possess a deadly elegance not only in their physical appearance, but in their webs as well.  However, as I looked across the field at 1,000 solitary spiders alone in their webs, I wondered if they ever get lonely.  I mean, the only time that anything comes to visit them in their web, the spider kills it.  So, in true hipster fashion, I wrote a poem about it. Enjoy.

She sits enthroned in the morning mist
The arachnid queen of her silken fortress.
The dewdrops are diamonds that play on her strings
But they’re jewelry of death for the arthropod kings.

They clamor to her courtside, make haste for her hall
As a dutiful hostess she welcomes them all.
Her beauty is ravishing her charm is divine
Her allure irresistible but far from benign.

Will the spider’s rare radiance the fly even remember
As he slowly drifts off to his eternal slumber?
Or will her fair memory fade and be gone
In the foggy gray morning of the vast great beyond?